Establishment of BNCA’s Universal Design Research and Training Centre is a step initiated at the institute for architecture, towards integrating Socially Inclusive Design education and practise that responds to needs of all sections of the society ranging from children to elderly, able bodied to the people with disabilities, literate to illiterate, the economically affluent to the economically weak people etc.
BNCA – Dr Bhanuben Nanavati College of Architecture for Women in Pune is functioning under the aegis of MKSSS- Maharshi Karve Stree Shikshan Samtha, a 114 years old samstha which was established in 1896 by a great visionary and social worker Bharat Ratna Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve, to provide shelter to destitute women and work towards social, educational, financial and spiritual upliftment of orphans, distressed women and widows, making them confident and self reliant.
Carrying forward the same spirit of the parent organization, BNCA’s Universal Design Research and Training Centre aims to take leadership in promoting Universal design approach for creating inclusive products and environments through four principle activities – Research, Training, Awareness and Service.
It’s inception started in 2011, and since then a wide range of activities and efforts have been undertaken successfully under the leadership of Prof. Kavita Murugkar guided by Dr. Abir Mullick, Vice Chancellor of Navrachana University, Vadodara and Dr. Anurag Kashyap, principal of BNCA. The centre was formally inaugurated this year on 14th February in the institute courtyard at the hands of esteemed Universal Design experts Dr Abir Mullick and Dr Rachana Khare, Professor at SPA, Bhopal in presence of Prof. Balaram.
A variety of activities, projects and events have been successfully organised through this centre by team of faculty members and students in the past two years, which includes a 18 week elective module on Universal Design, a city level seminar on Universal Design for professionals and academicians, a one day sensitization workshop for students of architecture and interior design from pune, heritage walks for groups of differently abled students and citizens, university research project on accessibility plans for protected heritage sites, participation in Universal design competitions, simulation exercises, experiments with tactile models, user needs surveys, participatory design studios based on buildings for specials groups, site visits to NGO’s, accessibility audit for important public buildings in the city, articles in local newspapers to raise awareness in masses etc. More information on the above is available on the centre’s blogspot – www.universaldesigncentrebnca.blogspot.com
With this initiative, the sensitivity of students towards Universal Design has grown immensely and a rigorous effort is being made at all levels – from 1st to final year to create universally accessible and people friendly designs, and not merely visually appealing designs. The Universal Design Centre at BNCA has carved a path for the institute to create more responsible and socially inclined architects and designers for tomorrow !!
A variety of activities, projects and events have been successfully organised under Universal Design Centre BNCA in the past two years as follows:
- Conducted Full site access audit and design proposal for enhancing the accessibility of World Heritage Site of Ellora, Aurangabad.
- Completed Access audit of Chaturshringi temple in Pune, and design proposal for making the site accessible
- Completed Access audit of Shaniwarwada and Pataleshwar caves- national monuments in Pune, and design proposal for making the site accessible.
- Study on inclusion of people with disabilities, with a focus on people with visual impairment, in heritage sites.
- Designing Simulation exercises, experiments with tactile models, user needs surveys, participatory design studios based on buildings for specials groups
- Written research papers on Universal design related studies.
- 18 weeks elective module on Universal design introduced in 4 th year B.Arch. Curriculum at Pune University
- Integrated Universal Design theory and principles in all design studios at B Arch and M Arch level.
- Working on training programs for professionals in association with local professional organisations such as PCERF, IIA, AESA, COA
- Conducted City level Seminar on UD in association with Pune Construction Engineering and Research Foundation for professionals and academicians.
- Training students through participation in Universal Design Competitions at national level – Recently her team won the third prize at NSDC, Bhopal organised by SPA for their Universal Design proposal for a pilgrimage site.
- Established a library and laboratory on Universal Design at BNCA
- Sensitisation program for students across all colleges of architecture in Pune in association with Ekansh, a local NGO at pune.
- Contribution to creating awareness amongst common man through newspaper articles and papers
- Access audits of public buildings and public presentations
- Instrumental in making CONSTRO – country’s largest exhibition on construction industry barrier free for physically impaired visitors.
- Conducting Heritage walks for groups of differently abled students and citizens
- Organized National level round table conference on Universal Design this year at IUCAA, Pune and invited national level UD experts for the same.
- Touching slate exercise undertaken for students of architecture, where these slates were created and distributed amongst school going students with visual impairment, to introduce to them the joy of drawing.
Contact details :
Prof. Kavita Murugkar