Karen L. Braitmayer, FAIA
Equity and inclusion advocacy, accessible design
By promoting equity and inclusion through her consulting work and education efforts, Karen L. Braitmayer, FAIA, has created a more inclusive and just environment for all. Nationally recognized for her leadership and advocacy for civil rights for people with disabilities, Braitmayer has smashed physical and social barriers for herself and for others.
Headquartered in Seattle, Braitmayer’s firm, Studio Pacifica, specializes in accessible design. When advising architecture firms on a wide range of projects, Braitmayer offers a unique outlook rooted in her personal experience as a longtime wheelchair user and her skills as a registered architect.
In her practice, Braitmayer pushes the notion of accessible design beyond compliance with laws and codes, and has demonstrated that design can and should start with the diversity of humans at its core. To that end, her work in multifamily housing has ensured rental options with amenities to people of all abilities. With services that range from construction administration to on-call consulting, she has brought a level of efficiency to her corporate clients by identifying project issues early on. Perhaps most importantly, Braitmayer’s extensive list of projects at educational institutions is a manifestation of her desire to facilitate the success of future generations.
Braitmayer’s pursuit of her ideals has led to presentations and workshops around the country, and an appointment by President Obama to the U.S. Access Board, which she chaired from 2013 to 2014. By representing the profession at the federal level, Braitmayer has brought to bear her considerable knowledge on reshaping public policy. As the top resource for accessible design, the board is often called on to guide ADA Standards. To broaden their impact, Braitmayer helped develop new informational materials, including short animations, to assist design professionals in better understanding the standards and the rationales behind them.