Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability. An environment (or any building, product, or service in that environment) should be designed to meet the needs of all people who wish to use it. This is not a special requirement, for the benefit of only a minority of the population. It is a fundamental condition of good design. If an environment is accessible, usable, convenient and a pleasure to use, everyone benefits. By considering the diverse needs and abilities of all throughout the design process, universal design creates products, services and environments that meet peoples’ needs. Simply put, universal design is good design.

Universal Design and Toilets

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Universal Design and Streetscapes

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Cork OT Services apply universal design principles to individuals, groups or organisations from private spaces to the public realm. These principles assist you to maintain independent living at home throughout your lifespan, whether adapting or building a new home.

Cork OT Services can work with you to ensure that your built environment meets the criteria set out in National Disability Authority’s Buildings for Everyone and the guidance from the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design. We can help you to maximize the access and design of your educational settings, workplace, healthcare, community or outdoor settings.

For example:

  • Transgenerational Playground Inclusive Playground
  • UCC Calm Space
  • Apartment Complex Dublin
  • First Changing Places Toilet in Cork (sited in UCC)
  • Individual new build homes
  • Adaptation of existing homes
  • Nursing homes

Cork OT services have proven expertise in the area of universal design and design for specific needs.

Linda was part of a research team that received a bursary from the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design to research the design of parks and playgrounds.


Linda is part of a team whose work in the Calm Zone, UCC has been chosen for exhibition at the upcoming  Venice Architecture Biennale for a show titled “Autistic Imaginaries of Architectural Space”