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Universal & Green Design

About Access Livings New Building

Building Entrance
Several levels of drop-off ramps at curbside and the outside sidewalk ease movement. The doorway had to be automatic and at street-level. The automatic double doors have an air curtain in the vestibule for energy efficiency  
Building Lobby
Ten percent of the building materials incorporate post-consumer recycled materials, and five percent of the building materials incorporate post-industrial recycled materials.
Conference Center
Rooms will be sized to allow convenient circulation for people using wheelchairs.State-of-the-art assistive listening systems will be provided in all meeting and conference rooms.
Atrium
Located on the Second Floor
Front Desk
40% of the of the materials traveled less than 500 Miles to make it to the building site.
Cubicles
Work Stations use a modular design that employees can adjust to fit their needs. Built from recycled items, the cubicles are standard, not customized.
On March 5, 2007 vision became reality when Access Living opened the doors to a four story, glass faced office along the Chicago Avenue skyline. Access Living’s permanent headquarters is one of the first ever to incorporate both universal and green design, and stands as a testament to the independence and empowerment embedded within Access Living’s mission.

Below, please find images and descriptions that highlight Universal and Green aspects of the building.

After years of planning and a four-year capital campaign, Access Living moved into its first permanent space early in Spring 2007. For some time, everything about the new building, from the automatic front door to the wide hallways to the video relay systems, seemed a world apart from our old space. Even today, many of us have to catch our breath when we consider that what started as a vision has evolved into one of the country’s first buildings to fully integrate Universal+Green Design, a model of accessibility and sustainability at 115 West Chicago Avenue.

But our new building is so much more than bricks and mortar. The glass-faced edifice stands as a powerful symbol of the community’s potential; a testament to our goal of empowering people with disabilities to pursue meaningful, independent lives.

The building already has made an impact. Many local organizations use our event space to host public forums, hearings, symposiums and other events, helping raise the visibility of disability culture. In addition to local visitors, hundreds of people have toured Access Living, from across the country to as far away as India, Japan, Poland, Ireland and Norway.

Our impact has not gone unnoticed. In August of 2007, Paralyzed Veterans of America presented Access Living and LCM Architects, the lead designer of the building, with the Barrier-Free America Award. Soon after, the building was honored with the 2007 AIA Chicago Sustainable Design Award. These recent awards underscore the benefits of Universal Design and likely will lead to more buildings embracing the inclusive design principle.

Now in a more visible, central location near converging lines of accessible public transit, Access Living can reach deeper into the community. Every day, scores of people, both long-time members and new visitors, flow in and out of the building to use the mainline or video telephone service, extensive reference library, visit the history exhibit, or meet with staff around issues critical to people with disabilities.

Brick by brick, the people within the building are working to tear down the shameful wall of exclusion that for so long has separated people with disabilities from equality, and replacing that wall with pride, dignity and empowerment.

In our bright new space, with more room to develop new initiatives to meet the changing needs of the population, Access Living continues its efforts to create one Chicago -- an integrated, accessible community where everyone has equal access to the cultural, educational, and employment opportunities this city has to offer.

If you haven’t visited yet, we invite you to tour our headquarters, meet some of the people here, and discover for yourself, “What’s Inside.”
Access Living Roof

Green Design: A Model for Sustainability

About Access Living’s New Building

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Home at Last: Endless Possibilities

About Access Living’s New Building

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Access Living Conference Room

Universal Design Principles in Practice: Beyond Barriers

About Access Living’s New Building

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Architect Talking About Front Doors

Universal+Green Design: The Ripple Effect

About Access Living’s New Building

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