Skip to main content
ADS6: Make Film Place

Emma Naylor

Emma’s work reflects her interests in engaging directly with people, materials, making and film. She has a particular interest in designing for disability and inclusive design within the built environment. 

Emma completed her undergraduate degree in Architecture from the University of Bath with First-class Honours in 2019. Whilst at Bath, Emma won the Oculus prize and Wilkinson Eyre prize for model making. This was for her final year project, outlining the proposal for a Spinal Rehabilitation Retreat Centre. Emma has since worked at Donald Insall Associates in Chester, specialising in conservation work and Knox Bhavan Architects where she has led projects on site. 

In her first year at the RCA, Emma's project explored the materiality of Portland stone, revealing the hidden origin and richness of the stone used to build London (it was awarded the Technical Studies Prize). Whilst her dissertation proposed a feminist approach to Deaf Culture, Activism and Public Space by claiming the public commons for the Deaf. In the future, Emma’s practice will continue to engage directly with people and making to further awareness and research into inclusive design.

Outside of architecture, Emma is a keen hockey player, skier and cyclist who enjoys racing bikes in the summer.

Show Location: Kensington campus: Darwin Building, Upper ground floor

‘Enabling the Cycle’ asks whether the built environment can be inclusive for the disabled cyclist? And what would the building industry need to do to achieve this?

Disability is not simply a design problem, it is our problem, it is society’s problem, we are the ones who perpetuate the social exclusion of disabled people. 

The project examines inclusion. It looks at how the building profession approaches inclusive and accessible design, situating the work within Herne Hill Velodrome and cycling. The site becomes a testing ground for prioritising the disabled body, by exploring different approaches to inclusive cycling infrastructure which fights for mobility justice. The site becomes a model for further research into making our environment more accessible for all. 

The Body and Kinetics

My initial models questioned and broke down both the standardisation of the bicycle and the body. Exploring the kinetic repetitive cycle of the bicycle expresses the continuous need for speed and productiveness in our society.  

Taking influence from Aaron Williamson’s artwork (a deaf artist who I engaged with whilst writing my dissertation about claiming Deaf space) I made two zoetropes which are used to break down the familiar, universal movement of riding a bicycle, this alienates and destabilises the everyday actions we do without thinking, making the non-disabled aware that from a disability point of view, this cycling action may be performed differently or not at all. 

I exposed the rigid and exclusive nature of the bicycle by breaking down the structure of the frame for the standard body. I then created an adjustable piece of frame to include the disabled body, which has different movements and actions. This approach could lead to a playful, adjustable, and kinetic architecture, which claims the velodrome for the disabled cyclist. 


Interview with Tre at the Wheels for Wellbeing Cycling Session
Wheels for Wellbeing Session Film Stills

The film shows my direct engagement with Tre, a disabled cyclist at the Wheel for Wellbeing cycling session at Herne Hill Velodrome, the continued direct engagement with the disabled community has been paramount to my work.


The Mechanical Engineer and the Access Consultant
Investigating Inclusive Design Film Stills

My initial proposals began by creating a storyline of two contrasting characters from the influence of opposite scenes, the mechanical engineer and the access consultant who were both designing two separate interventions on the site to make it fully accessible. The film questioned these different approaches. By firstly showing the background of the characters, them meeting at the site to discuss options and then their initial mechanical and spatial interventions. 

The mechanical intervention explored adjustable architecture physically through bike components, as shown through the adjustable track model, however, the model highlighted issues of overdesign. 

Whilst the spatial intervention designed digitally displayed the afterthought of the retrofit. Both schemes highlighted that disability must be thought of at the start of the design process. 




The Body: The Bicycle
The Room: The Changing Room
The Building: The Clubhouse
The Site: The Velodrome

The proposal faces and breaks down the three key barriers that disabled people face; visibility, access, and funding. Rather than offering a solution, this project analyses and highlights the issues of how the building industry approaches design for disability. Looking at Herne Hill Velodrome, where inaccessibility is seen as a problem that can simply be ‘fixed’ through building regulations and guidance. It can’t.

The proposal operates within these parameters by redesigning the spaces at the five different scales listed below in the accessible building reg and anthropometric data style, prioritising physical access to form a critique, becoming a manifestation of the year's research compiled. 

Body: Bicycle, The Disabled Community and Mechanics

Room: Changing Facilities, Legislation, and Access Consultancy

Building: Clubhouse, Combining Different Aspects of Industry

Site: Velodrome, The Spatial Retrofit, and Master-Planning

City: Future Practice Strategy, Cripping Practice


Collaboration with Visually Impaired Cyclists
Collaboration with Visually Impaired Cyclists Film Stills
The Embossed Plan and Photoetching
1:100 Interactive Model
1:100 Interactive Model
Design Through Touch

I have aimed to make the drawings accessible by gaining feedback from the visually impaired cycling club. I took test drawings to the visually impaired club’s rides (where I learned to pilot a tandem). In order to make the designs accessible to the visually impaired riders, I took drawings with cut paper, also stitched paper, and finally, I embossed the plan of the building through a photoetching process.


Film, Photoetching and Models
My Future Practice Strategy
My Future Practice Strategy Film Stills
Mobility Justice Strategy
Mobility Justice Strategy
The Circular Collective Culture Table
The Circular Collective Culture Table to Discuss My Future Practice Strategy to Prioritise the Disabled Body

The final scale, the City scale exposes how disability is currently only dealt with in guidance and regulations too late in the architectural design process.

The Mobility Justice Strategy and the Research Book show my proposed future practice strategy which uncovers this issue through prioritising the disabled body in confronting the three main barriers they face by ableism: visibility, access, and funding. This is achieved through prioritising the disabled body in employment and education. The new standards of accessible design are brought in earlier in the RIBA Plan of Work.

Altogether, I want to raise consciousness among architects and the building industry that broad and fundamental changes are required in their field to achieve engaging inclusive spaces not only within Herne Hill Velodrome but into the future of the City.


Film, Booklet and 1:1 Model