Professor, architect, and gerontologist Edward Steinfeld has been named the 2016–17 Nadine Carter Russell Chair in the LSU College of Art & Design. The four disciplines in the college share the rotating residency; this year’s residency is with the School of Interior Design.
Steinfeld received his architectural degree from Carnegie Mellon University and was offered a fellowship to study gerontology in the School of Architecture at the University of Michigan. Funded by the Administration on Aging, the Gerontology Fellows’ mission was to educate new experts in aging who would be prepared to meet anticipated challenges in demographic trends. Steinfeld completed his Master of Architecture and continued his fellowship, earning a PhD in architecture. His dissertation research focused on age segregation, which sowed the seeds for his future interests in universal design. Today, Steinfeld is internationally known for his research and publications. His special interests include universal design, accessibility, and design for the lifespan, and he is currently working on the development of universal design standards.
A distinguished professor of architecture at SUNY, Buffalo, Steinfeld directs the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access, a leading site for research, development, service, and educational activities centered on the philosophy of universal design, or “design for all.” Providing resources and technical expertise in architecture, product design, facilities management, and the social behavioral sciences, the IDeA Center is focused on making environments and products safer, healthier, and more user-friendly. The center’s primary goal is to increase the social participation of marginalized groups, such as the disabled and the elderly.
“Our concept and approach to universal design emerged from designing for disability, but our approach differs in that we expanded the focus on function to include health and social participation,” noted Steinfeld. “Usability is not sufficient. We design for active living; to reduce accidents and increase safety from aspects that can cause disease, for quality of life.”
The IDeA Center’s biggest coup to date is the receipt of a major grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research. The Rehabilitation and Engineering Research Center on Universal Design helped the IDeA Center expand its activities and established the institute as a National Center of Excellence. Steinfeld also codirects the RERC on Accessible Public Transportation. In partnership with the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University, the project brings together experts in information technology, ergonomics research, and universal design to advance the practice of accessible transportation and improve the usability of transit systems for all riders.
As Nadine Carter Russell Chair, Steinfeld will work with interior design and architecture students throughout the spring 2017 semester. He will also lead a faculty workshop on the principles of universal design and present a public lecture at 5 p.m. on February 8, 2017, in the LSU Design Building Auditorium.
Visit idea.ap.buffalo.edu for more information about the IDeA Center’s projects and services.
More about the Nadine Carter Russell Chair
In 1998, Paula G. Manship bestowed a fund for the LSU College of Art & Design to establish the Nadine Carter Russell Chair, named for her niece, a 1967 graduate of the College of Art & Design with a degree in art history. The Nadine Carter Russell Chair enables the LSU College of Art & Design to annually bring a prominent artist, designer, or scholar to campus. The rotating chair provides outstanding opportunities for all disciplines within the college and allows the college to meet a variety of curriculum needs. The duties of the chair primarily focus on teaching and public lectures but vary depending on the recipient’s field of expertise.