Action Figures 

Political action, social action, and cultural action. These are all elements embedded in architectural space and with each construction detail we produce, a social consequence emerges. While ADA Standards (design regulations detailing accessible space) mark a leap in equity among those with mobility impairments, prescriptive nature of the documents and their oversighted, cultural narrative lend themselves more to architectural afterthought than to creative design interventions.

Action Figures is a situational and episodic exploration into the latent and untapped social, cultural, and political potentials that exist within accessbility standardization.  

This thesis proposes misusing ADA Standards in a way that might generate new, unqiue spatial logics; resulting in a celebration of oddity, strangeness, and difference. Through cataloging and understanding the minimum and maximum requirements outlined in the documents, a new ruleset of ADA Hacks can be developed and applied to site specific situations. 


What are the spatial consequences when situationally applying this ruleset? How might these newly found conditions and arrangements challenge or reframe our current understanding of accessibility?  By both literally and metaphorically flattening the terrain of access, these three explorations aim to posit that while architecture itself can contribute to the disabling and marginalization of the human form, it can conversely liberate the relationship between space and body. 

Action Figures as...
An Inventory 

Deployed as a field condition of three-dimensionalized minimums and maximums of ADA Standards, this inventory is exactly what you make of it. The building is a museum, a soccer field, a picnic table, a night out on the town, or a fundraising event. Sometimes it’s a high school graduation, a bar mitzvah, a game night, and a party for one. One time, it was a roller rink, and another, a presidential campaign. Last week it was a rally for peace, and yesterday it was a four year-old’s-birthday celebration. The potentials of use and misuse are endless. 

Action Figures as...
An Exhibition 

Upside down, sideways, inverted, and backwards. This figure is an immersive experience. With a threshold sized for wheelchair users it is delightfully inconvenient for able-bodied peoples. Inside, things aren’t as they appear, or rather, as we think they should; an upending of expectations creates a celebration of strangeness in environment. The user doesn’t move through the figure to find answers or solutions, instead, they occupy it, if only for a moment, to engage with ADA Standards from an excitingly, different angle.


Action Figures as...
An Addition 

A vertical stack of volumes makes up this addition to a suburban home. A wall to wall lift provides circulation to each cell; one for eating and entertaining, one for rest and relaxation, and one for cleansing and rejuvenation. The kitchen spills out into the van access aisle, creating both interior and exterior spaces for cocktail parties and gatherings alike. Handrails become countertops and clothing racks, stairs become thresholds or light wells for foliage, and oversized bench backs become volumes for wheelchair operated murphy beds.