Access Living

Access Living

Pioneering By embracing the synergy of inclusive design and green concepts, the design positions Access Living’s new home as a model for responsible office buildings and highlights universal design's relevance as a change agent for social responsibility.

A permanent home has enabled a vital advocacy force to guide 1,400 disabled Chicagoans per year on a path toward independent living and productive citizenship.

Chicago, Illinois
Scope of Services
Interior Design
Universal Design


35,000 SF

Special Recognition
American Institute of Architects, Sustainable Design Honor Award, Chicago
Association of Licensed Architects, Silver Award
Friends of Downtown, Trend Setter Award
Paralyzed Veterans of America, Washington, D.C., Barrier Free America Award
Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award, Architectural Excellence in Community Design

A non-profit advocacy and social services group, Access Living promotes independent living for people with disabilities. The client desired a new LEED headquarters that would improve the environment for staff and clients with a range of disabilities within a typical office space vocabulary. A user-centered approach follows the inclusive Principles of Universal Design. All aspects of the building, including furniture selection, workstation layout, teledata equipment, HVAC and lighting, circulation, restrooms, and entry sequence, were designed by considering the range of possible needs. Accessibility details are deliberately inconspicuous.

“One of the building’s greatest legacies is its success in broadening awareness and recognition of universal design and the value in growing a more inclusive society.”
– Marca Bristo, Chief Executive Officer, Access Living