A New Professional Master in Universal Design in the Built Environment

Camilla Ryhl, Anne Kathrine Frandsen


How can universal design be discussed and developed as an integrated part of architectural quality instead of being regarded as a separate and specialised field of knowledge as is currently the case in the Nordic region? Moreover, how may the development of a professional Masters programme designed specifically for people in practice contribute to the process?

This paper describes the new Master in universal design offered at SBi Aalborg University in Copenhagen and discusses how the Masters programme through its design and focus on challenges and unresolved potential aims at changing the understanding and rhetoric of universal design in the built environment. As the programme is targeted at people with extensive experience of the field, it is also designed to take the investigations to a higher level than the physical solutions. Studies of e.g. phenomenology, perception theory, disability studies, organisational and strategic theories, economics and ethics are included.

Based on the experience gained by the authors from giving the first class in the Masters programme, the paper presents implications and the potential of expanding the understanding of how universal design may be interpreted within the architectural and building professions.

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