Posted on March 20, 2016
Recently DCN Reporter and Editor Ms. Bedrosian had the opportunity to participate in a luncheon seminar to ''hear'' Mr. Hansel Bauman of Gallaudet University (GU) at the Institute of Human Centered Design (IHCD) in Boston. He shared his work on architectural developments, floor plan designs and implementation on what is known as "Deaf Space." After introductions, Mr. Bauman who has been employed at GU for ten years now quoted historian architect Les Corbusier on use of space,
"Occupier of space is proof of its existence."
In that notation, Mr. Bauman continued to narrate on his research and work on the "Deaf Space" concept as it relates to about identity, space and our personal senses including vision and touch. With these concepts in mind, he uniquely carved out a niche into architectual space and design which makes Deaf comfortable living, working and playing in them. He cited some examples, sidewalks become wider, people sitting at round tables and the like for best visual access for communication exchanges. Furthermore, he drew in alot of his education from the Deaf Gain model that GU espouses throughout campus, scholarly research and in its consultation activity. A big example of his work with a team and crew in the design, planning and execution of such architecture were students, staff, faculty, and community of experts was the Sorenson Language and Communication Center (SLCC). Inherent in its building design is the way it captures natural light, open seating for visual access and plenty of walk way and soft corners. Mr. Bauman's work also has had an influence on the Hall Memorial Building (HMB) as well as other spaces on campus.
Critique has been available where the glass walls and inserts in buildings have reverbrated uncomfortable for students who wear cochlear implants. Other insights developed were to pay attention to color choice, material used and continue to push for better codes by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) as well as for better architectural access.
For more information, check out this article and ASL video by one of Bauman's colleagues, Derrick Behm in this article, "How Gallaudet University's Architects Are Redefining Deaf Space." The link is posted below:
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