2012 recipients

Lesley McIntyre

Selwyn Goldsmith (1932 - 2011) and the Architectural Model of Disability: A Retrospective of the Man and the Model.


Selwyn Goldsmith Portrait. © Becky Goldsmith

The proposed research will provide an original retrospective exploration and evaluation of Selwyn Goldsmith and his principle work – the Architectural Model of Disability. It will reposition Goldsmith's work in ways which are relevant to practicing architects, designers and planners in designing enabling environments and multi-disciplinary researchers by assessing the influence of the disability movement on architecture, cities and culture. A monograph will disseminate this knowledge into the architectural and public domain.

Affectionately known as the 'Early Accessibility Pioneer' and the 'Grandfather of Universal Design', Goldsmith, the first Architect to receive the Harding Award for services to disabled people, led the way in providing understanding of disability within the context of Architecture. However, the full extent of Goldsmith's impact has never been critically defined. The implications of his most significant contribution to architecture, the Architectural Model of Disability, have yet to be holistically assessed within the historical and theoretical context of contemporary architecture.

The holistic exploration of Goldsmith's illustrious legacy is the basis of what drives this timely architectural project. This research will not only lead to a greater understanding of disability within architecture, but also to the inauguration of what we might term 'Goldsmith Studies'. It will question if there is a potential for the Architectural Model of Disability to become a general theory of human interaction with architecture. This research will re-awaken the central themes of the Architectural Model of Disability and relay them within forums of architecture.


Dr Lesley McIntyre was awarded her PhD (funded by the Arts and Humanities Council AHRC) in 2012. Based within Architecture, yet working across disciplines, this doctoral research builds on Goldsmith's Architectural Model of Disability as it investigates the holistic (social, spatial, temporal and physical) phenomenon of human way-finding within the context of public spaces across a range of visual impairment.

Lesley has held various academic roles and has regularly lectured on various aspects of architecture, design and disability. She is currently a Post-doctoral Research Assistant with the Social Inclusion through the Digital Economy (SiDE) Research Group at the School of Computing, University of Dundee. Through identifying the enabling and disabling elements of architecture, her research investigates how HCI methodologies and digital prototypes have the potential to enable, support and enhance human-interaction, across a spectrum of needs, within the context of the built-environment.

Dr Lesley McIntyre can be contacted at lesleymcintyre@computing.dundee.ac.uk.


Lesley McIntyre July 2012 

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