Stephen Smith on accessibility in the new spaces
As architects, we heed the imperative for total inclusivity in our design work. Recognising the crucial need for spaces that are welcoming to all, the British Academy transformation project team has undertaken a comprehensive approach to enhance accessibility throughout Carlton House Terrace.
First, the ground floor reception spaces will be transformed through the removal of physical barriers between the west and east entrances, allowing for a more open and legible environment which is easier to navigate. Doors have been eliminated and new openings formed, facilitating movement and providing unobstructed sightlines across the heritage spaces. To ensure independent access for all individuals, glazed automatic doors and an external platform lift are being introduced to allow seamless entry.
Our focus on accessibility extends to the event spaces, where physical accessibility meets pragmatism.
In addition, works are planned for three new lifts discreetly woven into the fabric on the ground floor – replacing two existing lifts and one new lift, large enough for wheelchair use – will ensure access to the new event spaces, and throughout the building, is available and easily identified.
Our focus on accessibility extends to the event spaces, where physical accessibility meets pragmatism. Here, in addition to consistently level floors and a ramp to the stage, we’re delivering public programme spaces that engage state-of-the-art technology to ensure each event is accessible to global audiences digitally, on their own terms. Project team partners Recursive and Media Powerhouse are creating systems that are at the vanguard of digital and hybrid event programming; this will ensure that the British Academy’s commitment to fostering and sharing knowledge can be more extensively realised. It will transform the physical space into a dynamic hub where the exchange of ideas is not hindered by any limitations but rather enhanced by a spirit of openness.
Partner, Wright & Wright
Image: © Hufton + Crow, 2023 and Wright & Wright Architects