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STRATHCONA HALL ENTRANCE

Design for all
Sometimes a small project can offer a big opportunity for improvement. So was the case when CWA was brought on board to design an access ramp for the entrance to Strathcona Hall (a 250 seat lecture hall located within Yale’s Sheffield–Sterling-Strathcona building). Rather than a typical ramp and railing system, we investigated an approach that would integrate holistically into the architecture and landscape while providing a safe and less stigmatizing means of approach.

The implemented result is a gradual sloped walk that winds its way through landscaped grounds, around the building and ends at an automatically controlled entry door. This solution was successful on a number of levels. The equitable use and flexibility of its design promote key principles of universal design that aim to create inherent accessibility for all (and it does). At the same time, it blends seamlessly into its surroundings and looks as though it could have been part of the building’s original 1930 construction.

Backstory
As one of Yale’s larger halls, the 250 seat space serves as a classroom for undergraduate students and plays host to guest visitor presentations, debates, as well as performances. It has been noted that all undergrad students utilize the hall for a class at some point during their academic studies – Therefore, improving access was a mandate.

Context
Sheffield Sterling Strathcona’s main entrance is situated on the corner of Prospect and Grove Streets – The lecture halls entry point is at the rear of the building facing Hillhouse Avenue. The landscaped entry provides those wanting to enter/exit the hall direct access without having to navigate through the building.

Nuts & Bolts
Careful grading was implemented into the landscape so the entryway becomes natural and non-intrusive to the surroundings.

What You Don’t See
Restroom accessibility improvements as well as upgrades to the exterior stairs. Nor visible are a ramp and railings.

Best Use
Enjoying safe and easy access… whether coming or going.

Client
Yale University

Type
Renovation

Size
N/A

Completion
2000