Accessible Design for Existing Buildings and Landscapes


This Workshop is Made Possible by a Generous Partnership with the Port of San Francisco

Accessible design is challenging for architects and designers because it is not a "settled science." In California, accessibility standards apply not just to new construction, but also when remodeling existing facilities. Even though some projects with existing buildings may be exempt from compliance with certain standards, it is always in the best interest of the architect and owner to examine the best possible solutions for providing universal access. It is also important to understand the legal requirements and alternatives provided under current law. This full-day workshop will delve into creative accessibility solutions that retain the fundamental character of existing buildings and landscapes while accommodating and providing access to all. Project case examples will illustrate how challenges were overcome in a variety of settings and project types, including historic buildings, additions to existing buildings, cultural landscapes, and other settings.

Day's Agenda

Learning Objectives

  1. Apply California and federal accessibility standards to existing buildings
  2. Create an action plan for efficiently achieving accessibility
  3. Understand any exceptions on when the ADA is applied and when it is not required
  4. Use the checklist of accessibility issues at each phase of your project work


  • Moderated by... Cindy Heitzman, Executive Director, California Preservation Foundation
  • Arnie Lerner, FAIA, CaSp, Lerner & Associates
  • Daryl Phillips, CBO, Principal, Phillips Seabrook Associates
  • Ruchira Nageswaran, AIA, Knapp Architects
  • Alfaraz Khambatta, CASP, Deputy Director of Architectural Access, Mayor's Office on Disability
  • Derek Shaw, Division of the State Architect
  • Other speakers to be announced