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June 2, 2016

Irony, Paradox, Ignorance

In case you missed Gerry Post's deliciously ironic Facebook posting yesterday..........

This is Doors Open weekend in Halifax

The mandate of Doors Open Halifax is to make available to the general public, free access to buildings of historical, contemporary or architectural significance and to generate interest in our built environment.
June 4th – 5th, 2016, 10 – 4 pm

One of the open doors is the Nova Scotia Association of Architects


The Architects Act says one of the purposes of the association is the promotion of the architectural profession and architectural services in the public interest.
This is their building on Barrington:

 This is Access Awareness Week in Halifax

This is Gerry

This is what he said:

Doors Not Open to All: ironically it includes the very inaccessible building of the NS Association of Architects, a profession that seems to be stuck in the era of its building when it comes to universal design! Other inaccessible Open Doors include the Waterfront Development Corp's offices in Cable Wharf!

1 comment:

Anne Sinclair said...

regarding the Nova Scotia Association of Architects' offices, I tried for years to get some action to either create an accessible space or relocate (other than Newfoundland, we are the only office in the country without access).

The usual response has to do with the historic nature of the building....

Anyway, they have finally made some improvements to the lower level - a level entrance on the side street through a side door, leading to a meeting space with accessible washroom. The main office is upstairs, so no staff or visitors w/ disabilities can go there.

A visitor obviously would not know about this new entrance, so work still to be done (sign at front for example, which states that the lower level entrance for ALL is now at the side). Tomorrow is the NSAA AGM, so I'll bring up the topic once again.

I often feel hypocritical on this topic, because my office is in a heritage home with a stairs only entrance (different than the public nature of the NSAA and Waterfront development Corp, but still...) So I never hold meetings here, nor could I have staff who can't do the stairs. There is not room in the front for a ramp - it's semi detached, and on the open side there is an easement - so no space for side ramp. The alternative is to rent accessible space. But the reason I am in my home is to keep overhead low so that I have time to do advocacy, volunteer work, and work for non profits. If I have rent to pay, I'll need to cut back on those things. This is something I am struggling with.

BTW, at least one other of the sites for Doors Open is not yet accessible - the new site for Halifax Hospice. I have been hired as their architect - partly because they are committed to universal design - but construction work will not begin until next year, so the site now is 2 old heritage houses with stairs all over. During design we will hold workshops with various user groups - it would be great if The James McGregor Stewart Society community members could be involved.