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Paralympic legend Tanni Grey-Thompson to judge RIBA competition for inclusive hotel design

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has today (14 April) launched an international design competition promoting hotel design that is inclusive for disabled people.

The “first of a kind” Bespoke Access Awards will celebrate designers who aim to improve access to hotels worldwide for disabled people, including those with learning difficulties, as well as all other guests.

In a statement, RIBA said: “The Awards seek to challenge the perception of hotel facilities set aside for disabled people, which can often be viewed as joyless, poorly-designed and over-medicalised.

“This design competition aims to reward entrants who address guests’ experience from the front door to any room or service within a hotel; and includes the process that has to be undertaken before a visitor arrives or during check out.”

Prize money totalling £30,000 will be granted to successful designers across three categories: Architecture, Product Design and Service Design. According to RIBA, the most imaginative, innovative and potentially realisable ideas in any of these strands will be awarded, and published “for the benefit of the hotel industry worldwide”.

The awards, which are sponsored by the Bespoke Hotels company, were launched at the House of Lords, whose members suggested the competition.

RIBA said the initiative aims to draw on the legacy of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games, “which drew worldwide attention to the capacities of those with disabilities and – in the Olympic venues themselves - to the importance of good design.”

Paralympic gold medallist Tanni Grey-Thompson and Stirling Prize-winning architect Alan Stanton will judge the competition.

Grey-Thompson said: “As I have travelled the world, I have had experience of how poor design standards in some hotels can affect how you feel – not only about staying but also about the whole experience.

“The Bespoke Access Awards are a chance to let the imagination run free and to conceive how a more inclusive design experience can help not just disabled people but every guest.

“The industry needs to do better but it can never just be about technical standards. Great architecture is about spaces that make you feel better and which make you want to return.”

Pritzker Laureate Richard Rogers hailed the initiative as “worthwhile and timely.” He said: “The needs of disabled people should be celebrated by designers, some of whom have disabilities, rather than seen as merely satisfying building regulations.

“We need to imagine what a more joyful experience for disabled people could look like and articulate it in better architecture, product design and service design.”

Entries for consideration can be received between now and 1 September 2016. Winners will be announced on 1 December 2016 at the Palace of Westminster, ahead of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December.

Grey-Thompson and Stanton will be joined on the judging panel by Bespoke Hotels chair Robin Sheppard, who has suffered and recovered from Guillain Barre Syndrome, and Celia Thomas, a peer in the House of Lords and campaigner for the rights of disabled people who has limb girdle muscular dystrophy.

The first prize award of £20,000, named the Celia Thomas Prize, is believed to be the largest cash prize in the UK for a design concept.

RIBA Competition  Tanni Grey-Thompson to judge RIBA competition for inclusive hotel design 
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has today (14 April) launched an international design competition promoting hotel design that is inclusive for disabled people. The “first of a kind” Bespoke Access Awards will celebrate designers who aim to improve access to hotels worldwide for disabled people, including those with learning difficulties, as well as all other guests. In a statement, RIBA said: “The Awards seek to challenge the perception
CLD,HHR,HOT,ARC,DES,DEV
Paralympic gold medallist Tanni Grey-Thompson said: 'The Bespoke Access Awards are a chance to let the imagination run free and to conceive how a more inclusive design experience can help not just disabled people but every guest'
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