Meet Our Speaker

Thea Kurdi
Thea Kurdi

Vice President, DesignABLE Environments, Accessibility Expert, Educator, Trainer, Speaker

What is a Successful Accessible Design?

In this session, Thea introduces the concepts and materials taught in the Introduction to Successful Accessible Design Course from the RAIC. She will present an overview of disability, accessibility legislation, and the built environment. In Canada, approximately 6.2 million individuals report having one or more disabilities, with the population of individuals aged 64 and over projected to increase to 23% of the total population in the next decade. The role of accessibility legislation, such as the Accessible Canada Act, the National Building Code, and the Human Rights Code is analyzed. The gaps in legislation are focused on demonstrating the corresponding gaps in design education resulting in implementation of ineffective accessibility. Important features of universal and accessible design are examined through discussion of real-life application from international and national resources. Foundational steps for improving accessible design implementation is provided with principal resources for integrating universal design.

“There is nothing more sustainable than accessibility in all design.” Thea Kurdi

“The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom and our Human Rights Code was changed 35 years ago. The fact that our National Building Code still does not facilitate useable accessibility in all new developments and retrofitted buildings has created the accessible housing, workplace, and urban design crisis that we face across the country. Anyone interested in sustainable design will know that if we look at our demographics and the lifecycle cost of renovations there is nothing more sustainable than accessibility in all design.”

Thea Kurdi has over 19 years of experience specializing in barrier-free and universal design for architectural projects of varying size and complexity. Thea has been an educator for her entire career, both with clients and students. She is frequently a guest speaker at lectures for design students, including at Waterloo School of Architecture, Ryerson University School of Architecture and George Brown College Interior Design. Thea has focused her career on helping clients understand what usable accessibility means, how universal design is better design for everyone, and how to achieve the Human Rights Code.


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