Recap: Design Challenge Exhibition

On January 19, 2018, the Denver Architecture Foundation celebrated The Art of Architecture, an exhibition of designs by students from the University of Colorado Denver College of Architecture and Planning developed collaboratively with artists with disabilities from Access Gallery. Each design, bi-products of DAF’s 2017 Design Challenge, featured concepts for a fully integrated and inclusive space for Access Gallery.

DAF envisioned this first-ever challenge in concert with Access Gallery, an arts center in Denver’s Santa Fe Arts District where artists with disabilities come together to learn, create and collaborate. At the core of the challenge? Reimagining the physical space of Access Gallery. DAF posed this challenge to graduate students in one of Ranko Ruzic’s Fall 2017 courses at the College of Architecture and Planning.

Side by side with Access Gallery artists, architecture students dove into participatory design processes, creating meaningful dialogue on accessibility and inclusion. Artists share their personal perspectives, elevating their voices and informing each design. Students tapped into real-world design experiences, listening to and understanding community needs.

The Art of Architecture showcased architectural models and plans from participating UCD students, fostering accessibility awareness among hundreds of exhibition visitors. Media coverage from outlets like 303 Magazine and digital walkthroughs of three designs continue to build awareness and elevate perspectives of accessibility and inclusion.

“Our architecture students were charged with creating an inspired home for Access Gallery, featuring a studio, gallery and residences for its artists, while accommodating market opportunities, including residences, retail and underground parking. The outcome is a visionary project for both Access Gallery and the Santa Fe neighborhood. Our students have acquired a greater understanding of the design needs for people with disabilities, and architectural design as a means of integrating all.” ~Ranko Ruzic