Robert Adams, the 2017 James T. Neubacher Award recipient, looks over a model of one of his designs — a pod where patients with post-traumatic stress disorder and medical providers can relax and de-stress. (Photo by Eric Bronson, Michigan Photography)

Sometimes in the world of architecture and design, the needs and lives of people living with disabilities can be rendered near invisible.

The rhetoric around disability in the discipline, Robert Adams said, often centers on technical questions of whether buildings are in compliance with codes like the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Unfortunately, for example, wheelchair-accessible ramps can be found at the rear of buildings, next to loading docks and dumpsters — relegating those living with physical disabilities to the background of life and living space, he said.

“There’s always this soft discrimination, I think, of architecture as it’s applied to disabled bodies that isn’t about coming through the front door, or being part of the drama of urban life," said Adams, associate professor of architecture in the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. "Disabled bodies are often scrubbed out of that scene.”

In recognition of his commitment and contributions to areas of disability, Adams is the recipient of the U-M Council for Disability Concerns 2017 James T. Neubacher Award.

Please read the full article in The Record.