Innovative Practice 2020 on Inclusive Education and ICT

Teaching architects and students to use Universal Design principles

BNCA University is based in Pune, the capital city of the Indian state of Maharashtra. With the Universal Design Centre (UDC), BNCA has focused on bringing architectural education into the national education framework. The centre has developed curricula, content, and teaching/learning methods, as well as resources for the capacity-building of students and faculty of architecture to promote Universal Design. Starting from two architectural institutes in 2014, the practice has grown to more than 30 architectural and design institutes across India in 2018. More than 1,000 architects and civil engineers, 3,000 students, and 500 educators have been trained.

“The sensitivity of students towards Universal Design has grown immensely.”

About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:Opening Minds to Universal Design
Organisation:Universal Design Centre, BNCA University
of Implementation
India/ Maharashtra, works in 30 centres
Start Year2014


  • Since 2014, more than 1,000 professionals, 3,000 students and 500 teachers in architecture have been sensitized and trained.
  • UDC has already expanded to 30 institutes, and ultimately seeks to reach all 500 architecture and design institutes in India.


Architectural education in India has failed to include Universal Design and accessibility in both the undergraduate and postgraduate curricula.


Persons with disabilities have been engaged by BNCA University as core team members in formulating the curricula and creating course content for the Universal Design Centre. They have also been invited as user experts and resource persons for conducting the training programmes.

In cooperation with professional architecture and design bodies, UDC has compiled publications of academic projects, research papers, and scholarly articles based on Universal Design. It has also conducted state- and national-level conferences, roundtables, and seminars to create awareness and to overcome the challenges regarding the integration of Universal Design in architectural education and practice in India. The workshops have a theoretical, practical, and creative component, featuring, for example, many easy-to-implement measures – such as doorknobs that require only a push or pull, instead of a turning movement, or remote controls for smart homes with a limited number of buttons to make them useable for everyone.

Since 2014, more than 3,000 students and 500 teachers of architecture from over 30 institutes across India have participated in the programme, including the National Institute of Design and the National Institute of Technology.

A man pushes another man in a wheel chair to a barrier during a accessibility training.

Workshops have a theoretical, practical, and creative component.


The Universal Design Centre is a voluntary, non-profit organization that does not charge for its services. Travel costs and overhead expenses are funded by BNCA or the participating architectural institution.

As of 2019, the programme has been scaled to 30 participating institutes, and UDC wants to actively engage with all 500 architectural institutions in the country. As a first step, regional sub-centres are being developed for conducting train-the-trainer programmes and to help institutions in making Universal Design an integral part of the design process. Finally, UDC intends to introduce postgraduate courses in Universal Design in India.



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