The late Ed Roberts founded the Berkeley’s Center for Independent Living (CIL) in 1972, initiating the world’s first organisation run both by and for people living with disabilities. When Roberts passed away in 1995, the CIL partnered with six other independent living and civil rights organisations to commemorate the international leader in disability rights with a stand-alone complex supplying services to the disabled.
Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects recently completed the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley, which provides vocational training, educational courses, housing and benefits assistance, and fitness and health support to people with disabilities.
Located at the Ashby BART Station, the architectural design far exceeds the requirements set down by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Users enter the 85,000 sq ft facility through a main entry plaza and gleaming glazed façade into a central atrium which features a scarlet helical ramp which provides easy access to the second floor.
Every element of the quality design work has been thoroughly considered to enable equal accessibility to users of all abilities. These include; 7ft wide corridors to facilitate wheelchair use; automatic doors; hands-free building system controls; large elevators with specialised controls for wheelchair users; easy-to-navigate wayfinding system aided by acoustical landmarks; high-contrast interior finishes; and coloured and textured flooring.
Sustainable components include exterior shading, natural ventilation, energy-efficient mechanical and lighting systems, and the utilisation of recycled, sustainably harvested and rapidly renewable materials. Nontoxic finishes and filtered outside air enhance indoor air quality, addressing the needs of those with chemical sensitivities.