Gallaudet University: A Dorm for the Deaf
"The first thing you notice when walking into Gallaudet University’s newest residence hall is how utterly familiar it looks. With its modern concrete floors, wooden accents and expansive set of glass windows, the dormitory is not familiar in the sense of boring—actually the space is quite lovely even despite the fact that it is student housing. You see, Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. is home to nearly 2,000 students who are deaf or hearing impaired, and its recently built dorm was designed with them specifically in mind.
Obvious design concessions are nowhere to be found; rather, the Living and Learning Residence Hall 6 was built with a series of subtle and thoughtful design choices that use the principles of DeafSpace. Designed by New York City-based LTL Architects, the 60,000-square-foot building is the first to fully employ architectural principles that cater to the communication and spatial needs of the hearing impaired."
"GALLAUDET UNIVERSITY'S NEWEST residence hall was designed specifically for deaf students by New York City-based LTL Architects. The 60,000-square-foot building is the first to fully employ architectural principles that cater to the communication and spatial needs of the hearing impaired.
DeafSpace principles are architectural guidelines to improve how deaf people interact with their built surroundings. The Gallaudet team developed more than 150 design elements that address five main problem areas for the deaf: space and proximity, sensory reach, mobility and proximity, light and color, and acoustics.
The ground floor is the centerpiece of the building and is open to all students on campus. The acoustics of the space are tightly controlled thanks to a paneled ceiling and acoustic blanket that is pinned to the underside of the concrete floor.
The ground floor’s community room has a subtle amphitheatre-like slope that when viewed through the wall of windows, is clearly in line with the natural incline of the campus’ landscape. This was to faciliate clear lines of sight throughout the building.
Each residential floor has a kitchen that opens to a lounge. All main appliances are centered on the island, which ensures that students never have to have their backs to each other while cooking. This is meant to foster the idea of the kitchen as a gathering place where students can get to know each other." (Wired)
The Radical Challenge of Building a Dorm for the Deaf, Wired
How Gallaudet University's Architects are Redefining Deaf Space, Curbed
Gallaudet University, LTL Architects
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Photograph via Curbed