Ron Mace, one of the founders of Universal Design

Universal/accessible design of the home from an occupational therapy and a construction perspective. This blog is part of a quest for cool, convenient, functional design that makes life safer, easier, and as maintenance-free as possible. It's about the lifestyle.


"His efforts have significantly impacted the world we live in many ways-legislation requiring equal access for people with disabilities, design guidelines for accessibility, universal design solutions, and greater independence for people with disabilities and older adults. His work, however, is not finished." -The Center for Universal Design at NC State University 

Ronald Lawrence Mace (1941-1998) was known as a well recognized architect, educator, researcher, advocate, and product designer that has changed the world of design for everyone: regardless of age or abilities. He was the founder and program director of The Center for Universal Design (at the School of Design at NC State University in Raleigh, NC). According to NC State University College of Design, Mace conceived the term 'universal design' in order to describe and fulfill "the concept of designing all products and the built environment to be aesthetic and usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life." 

Why and how did this all start?  




Ron Mace developed polio at the age of 9 years old and had used a wheelchair from then on, being carried up and down stairs as a student at NC State and was not fitting into necessary rooms at the school. He saw a need, had a vision, and made it happen. 


Mace received a degree in architecture from the School of Design at NC State University in 1966. After four years of working in conventional architecture, Mace was involved in a project to make the first accessible building code for accessibility in the nation in which the code became mandatory in NC in 1973 and became a representation for many other states. According to NC State University College of Design, "Ron's pioneering work in accessible design was instrumental in the passage of national legislation discrimination against people with disabilities, the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 and The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990." 


As stated by NC State University College of Design, Mace was also the president of Barrier Free Environments, Inc. (BFE) which is an accessible design consulting firm. There he consulted on accessibility issues for several locations such as The Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.. 

"We can make anything more universally usable, but to do that, 
we must pay attention to details." -Ronald L. Mace (bold emphasis added

May we all pay attention to details (whether small or substantial) and continue to work together to build on what Ron Mace has started. 

Picture Retrieved from: The Center for Universal Design 
Additional Links about Ron Mace "Design Pioneer and Visionary of Universal Design": 
"A non-project organization based in NC dedicated to promoting the concept and practice of accessible and universal design."

Ron Mace's last speech  at "Designing for the 21st Century: An International Conference on Universal Design" June 19, 1998 at Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY. 

"Our mission is to improve environments and products through design innovation, research, education, and design assistance." 



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