The XXV edition of the Vertical Workshop will put forward proposals for accessible and inclusive urban furniture

Students will build on the principles of universal design to contribute to the transformation of cities into inclusive urban spaces

On 2 September, the inauguration of the new edition of the UIC Barcelona School of Architecture Vertical Workshop took place. This year the title is “Unlimited city. Designing Inclusive and Accessible Urban Furniture for Barcelona”.

The opening session was attended both by the director of this edition, Iñigo Ugalde, and the coordinator of the workshop, Nacho Vallhonorat. The welcome speech was given by the director of the UIC Barcelona School of Architecture, Josep Lluis i Ginovart. The opening talks for the workshop were then held. The first was given by José Augusto Garcia, director general of the Catalan Consortium of Health and Social Affairs, the sponsoring organisation for this new edition of our Vertical Workshop. In his speech, he analysed the progressive phenomenon of ageing in our societies and highlighted the crucial role played by architects in the design of new urban and housing models. “Ageing is not a problem; it is an opportunity. Society is changing radically, and we must contribute to that change from the perspective of both design and care,” he said.

The second talk was given by Josep Maria Serra and Jordi Múñoz, general manager and head of Communication and Marketing at Urbidermis, an organisation that is sponsoring this edition. Both highlighted the crucial role played by architects in the design of new urban elements, drawing from their 30-year experience of editing urban furniture. Enrique Rovira-Beleta, director of the Accessibility Area at the UIC Barcelona School of Architecture, gave the last talk in which he emphasised that “21st century architecture is architecture for older people”.

Divided into teams, students from second to fifth year taking our bachelor’s degree in Architecture will design urban furniture elements that are both flexible and inclusive, based on the principles of universal design. On 9 September, the proposals created will be assembled and installed on the spot in real scale, in the vicinity of the UIC Barcelona main campus. The projects will be evaluated by external jury members, in which representatives of the Catalan Consortium of Health and Social Affairs, Urbidermis and Barcelona City Council will participate.

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