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museum model

The Institute's staff has a wealth of expertise in universal design and accessibility codes and standards with an emphasis on human function, architecture, and planning. The Institute has developed technical and policy documents and a wide range of graphic and multimedia materials to explain technical specifications in context of the environment. The Institute has a history of collaborative, multidisciplinary work: research, plan review; development of new plans, survey instruments, photo documentaries, product designs, state agency policies, demonstration houses, educational programs, and contributing to federal and state legislation.


The activities listed here and elsewhere in our website span over two decades of work history. Recent development projects include consumer and architectural products with an additional focus on the development of universal home plans resulting in the construction of demonstration homes, multifamily and single-family homes, and the incorporation of universal design into modular housing. Additionally work included the development of guidelines for health clubs and temporary events, providing guidance for light rail stations for the Triangle Transit Authority; developing new products such as adaptable kitchen and bathroom cabinets, universal home automation devices, and self-checkout machines.

Education and training activities align with the other activity areas targeting key professions and trades personnel and spanning North Carolina, national and international audiences. The Institute's training programs focus on professionals (architecture, interior design, industrial design, landscape architecture, planning, the building professions, engineering, and allied health professions) at all stages of their training and practice from undergraduate and graduate post-secondary activities to continuing education opportunities. The Institute delivers training at all scales: individual conference seminars, one-half to 5-day academic workshops, as well as synchronous and asynchronous Internet trainings.

A sampling of projects includes:

  • Research on new technologies to increase work efficiency of people with hand and arm impairments
  • Consultation on ADA compliance, Fair Housing compliance, standards, policies locally, nationally and internationally
  • Development of numerous technical assistance documents
  • Creation of a range of multimedia materials to explain and detail universal design across many design and policy domains
  • Design development of universal house plans, new construction and remodeling
  • Design of accessible homes and home access modifications

design for human diversity