Caitlin Wildermuth, Bronze Medal Nominee (2018)

Reflection on “Access”

Access is an integral part of interior design, and that is obvious just from reading the definition – the ability to enter, approach, or pass to and from a place. As an interior design student, I have studied access both physically and through lectures and study. I have personally experienced how access relates to the able-bodied person as well as to those with handicaps, and I have noticed how navigating different spaces can impact your mood both positively and negatively. The reason access is so important to interior design and architecture is because, when done properly, your spaces can improve the quality of life for your occupants. The structural design and overall space planning can grant access to your occupants – you can give them wide doors, ample corridor space, and room to maneuver. By thinking ahead and considering the everyday life of your occupants, you can provide them with a space they will genuinely enjoy.

All people who enter a space, regardless of any form of disability, should be able to fully utilize whatever space they are occupying. Through my years of schooling and the large amounts of space planning I have done, it has always helped me to visualize myself using a space. How would I use this space if I was injured? What if I had to use a wheelchair? It would be frustrating if you had bad knees and could only get to your bedroom by climbing the stairs. It would put you in a bad mood if you were in a wheelchair and could not get into your fridge because the kitchen island was too close. These are small details to consider. Some may not consider it worth their time, but details such as these greatly improve the quality of life for these occupants.

Designing for access is so important for interior designers and architects to consider. When I consider what design is and what it means to me, it is obvious that the main purpose of design is to improve the quality of life for the occupants of a designed space. For example, I was able to experience maneuvering Judson’s campus in a wheelchair in order to test accessibility, and it is safe to say it put me in a bad mood. People should enjoy the spaces you design. These designed spaces should not make your occupants feel unwelcome, intrusive, or uncomfortable, but they should encourage your occupants and make them delight in the space. With this in mind, it is apparent that access is an integral part of design.

Exhibits of Coursework (click to expand)


Lacey Wells, Bronze Medal Nominee (2018)

Reflection on “Access”

Shaping lives that shape the world. This vision is the undercurrent at Judson University, and everything we learn is driven by this current. After four years of toiling on this river, it is amazing to reflect on the journey. It was more than spending time, energy, and money on schooling. The current has carved channels of access through my life and into the world.

As a Christian University, Judson keeps Christ at the center. Ephesians 2:18 and 3:12 describe how Christians have access to the Father through Christ and the Holy Spirit. My professors reiterate how important this relationship is. Without Christ, we have nothing and are nothing. Through Christ, we are coheirs and have access to the riches and fullness of God. The currents of God-centeredness at Judson have helped deepen the access to the Kingdom within my own life.

With Christ at the center of my life, my desire is to advance the Kingdom of God in the vocation of Architecture. God called me to become a licensed architect, and I could not have fulfilled His calling without developing the required skills in school. Here at Judson I have learned to design, problem solve, and to think. Most importantly, I have learned how to listen effectively and how to be a life-long learner. These skills will give me access to firms and the ability to succeed while I work to shape the world.

My initial journey through school draws near its end, but the currents of Judson will carry me on to an exciting career. My college degree is a key that unlocks access to a career and God’s calling on my life. I have the ability to work at a great firm to prepare me for graduate school and a lifetime of service. I have the opportunity to serve God and His children, both lost and found, by building better communities for them to share. And, above all, I have access to the Kingdom of God, and I have the joy of giving it to others.

“By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:2)

Exhibits of Coursework (click to expand)