Beyond the body – Rethinking the architectural module to promote social inclusion


  • Mickeal Milocco Borlini Cardiff Metropolitan University (UK)
  • Ambra Pecile University of Trieste (Italy)
  • Christina Conti University of Udine (Italy)



environmental accessibility, people variability, universal design, module, perception


The architectural module has long been associated with the concept of measurement, where standardisation of the human body is used to define absolute modularity. With the awareness of human diversity, this narrow view of the module’s applicability is problematic, particularly in processes of environmental accessibility and inclusion. This paper critically explores the limits of the traditional measurement module, rethinking the concept of modularity to account for physical and perceptive diversity. By doing so, we aim to promote social inclusion and universal design in architectural projects for people. The paper concludes that the evolution of the concepts of the module and the human being requires a revision of their very meanings, calling for a more inclusive approach to design and planning in our contemporary world.


Article info

Received: 16/09/2023; Revised: 19/10/2023; Accepted: 30/10/2023


Download data is not yet available.

Article Metrics Graph

Author Biographies

Mickeal Milocco Borlini, Cardiff Metropolitan University (UK)

Architect and PhD, he is a Lecturer in Interior Design at the Cardiff School of Art and Design and researches innovative methodologies and solutions on universal design.

Ambra Pecile, University of Trieste (Italy)

She is a PhD Candidate in the Doctoral School in Civil-Environmental Engineering and Architecture with a research grant financed by the Friuli-Venezia Giulia Region on topics related to the revitalisation of industrial landscapes. Pecile worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Udine on regenerating urban and peri-urban environments.

Christina Conti, University of Udine (Italy)

She is an Associate Professor in Architectural Technology at the DPIA Department. She carries out research in the field of technological design with an awareness of the innovation of materials, products and techniques and inclusive design in sustainable contexts. Conti is responsible for the ‘dalt’ Laboratory on environmental accessibility.


Albiero, R. (1999), Architettura e Misura – Indagine sul concetto di misura in Architettura, Tesi di Dottorato di Ricerca in Progettazione Architettonica e Urbana, XI ciclo, Politecnico di Milano, Facoltà di Architettura. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 6 October 2023].

Baron-Cohen, S. (2017), “Editorial Perspective – Neurodiversity – A revolutionary concept for autism and psychiatry”, in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, vol. 58, issue 6, pp. 744-747. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 6 October 2023].

Baratta, F. L., Conti, C. and Tatano, V. (2019), Abitare inclusivo – Il progetto per una vita autonoma e indipendente | Inclusive Living – Design for ad autonomous and independent living, Anteferma Edizioni, Conegliano.

Conti, C., Milocco Borlini, M. and Pecile, A. (2021), “Healthy and Inclusive Cities – Overcoming Architectural Barriers, in the Social, Safety, and Health Spheres of the URBAN-HUMAN Interaction Systems”, in Giofrè, F. and Halilović-Terzić, S. (eds), HURBE 2021 Conference Proceedings – Making Healthy Cities for People (4-5 October 2021), University of Sarajevo, Faculty of Architecture, Sarajevo, pp. 197-206. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 6 October 2023].

Conti, C., Milocco Borlini, M. and Tubaro, G. (2020), “Vertical travel – The multi-sensory accessibility of vertical transition environments in museum itineraries”, in Trabucco, D., Giacomello, E. and Belmonte, M. (eds), Mobilità verticale per l’accessibilità – Oltre il Quadrato e la X – Vertical Mobility for Accessibility, Anteferma, Conegliano. [Online] Available at: 2020_Vertical_Travel_The_Multi_sensory_Accessibility_of_Vertical_Transition_ Environments_in_Museum_Itineraries_in_D_Trabucco_E_Giacomello_M _Belmonte_Eds_Oltre_il_Quadrato_e_la_X_Vertical_Mobility_for_ Accessibility_Congliano_Anteferma [Accessed 6 October 2023].

Engel, G. L. (1977), “The need for a new medical model – A challenge for biomedicine”, in Science, vol. 196, article 4286, pp. 129-136. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 6 October 2023].

Giacomello, E., Milocco Borlini, M., Pavan, D., Conti, C. and Trabucco, D. (2021), “Accessibility Performance for a Safe, Fair, and Healthy Use of the Elevator”, in Black, N. L., Neumann, W. P. and Noy, I. (eds), IEA 2021 – Proceedings of the 21st Congress of the International Ergonomics Association, Lecture Notes in Networks and Systems, vol. 2 – Inclusive Design, Springer, Cham, pp. 255-262. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 6 October 2023].

HM Government (2016), The Building Regulations 2010 – Correction to the Approved Documents – 2015 edition including 2016 amendments approved Document M, voll. 1-2. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 6 October 2023].

Iwarsson, S. and Ståhl, A. (2003), “Accessibility, usability and universal design – Positioning and definition of concepts describing person-environment relationships”, in Disability and Rehabilitation, vol. 25, issue 2, pp. 57-66. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 6 October 2023].

Lauria, A. (2017), “Progettazione ambientale e accessibilità – Note sul rapporto persona-ambiente e sulle strategie di design | Environmental design and accessibility – Notes on the person-environment relationship and on design strategies”, in Techne | Journal of Technology for Architecture and Environment, vol. 13, pp. 55-62. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 6 October 2023].

Lauria, A. (2014), “L’Accessibilità come ‘sapere abilitante’ per lo Sviluppo Umano – Il Piano per l’Accessibilità | Accessibility as a ‘key enabling knowledge’ to Human Development – The Accessibility Plan”, in Techne | Journal of Technology for Architecture and Environment, vol. 7, pp. 125-131. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 6 October 2023].

Legislative Assembly of Ontario (2016), Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 6 October 2023].

Lorenzo-Palomera, J., Fuentes-Pérez, C. and Aranda-Jiménez, Y. (2022), “Le Corbusier’s Modulor – Anthropometric Myth”, in Civil Engineering and Architecture, vol. 10, issue 1, pp. 112-120. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 6 October 2023].

Parliament of the United Kingdom (2010), Equality Act 2010. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 6 October 2023].

Parliament of the United Kingdom (1995), Disability Discrimination Act 1995. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 6 October 2023].

Steinfeld, E. and Maisel, J. (2012), Universal Design – Creating Inclusive Environments, John Wiley & Sons.

UN – United Nations (2006), Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 6 October 2023].

US Congress (1990), Americans with Disabilities Act – Title 42 – The Public Health and Welfare. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 6 October 2023].

Elevator and multisensoriality (credits: L. De Stasio and E. Rieppi, 2019). AGATHÓN 14 | 2023




How to Cite

Milocco Borlini, M., Pecile, A. and Conti, C. (2023) “Beyond the body – Rethinking the architectural module to promote social inclusion”, AGATHÓN | International Journal of Architecture, Art and Design, 14, pp. 174–181. doi: 10.19229/2464-9309/14142023.