2A Visual Way of LivingDeaf space and architecture has become a popular area of research in recent years, particularly in the field of universal design—an architectural concept that emphasizes the production of buildings and spaces that are accessible to both so called "able-bodied" and "disabled" individuals.The driving idea behind this concept is to create inclusive products and environments that can benefit as many people as possible.
3A Visual Way of LivingDeaf people are visual beings and their vision is generally more acute.There is an expanding body of information about Deaf people’s visual ways of living, including Deaf-friendly environments, or Deaf Space.Ideal environments for Deaf people have open spaces. The ideal floor plan in a deaf-friendly house is visually open with walls that do not block views or present barriers to communication.
4A Visual Way of LivingLighting is bright enough for easy visibility, but not glaring, or positioned in a way that makes it difficult to see the signer.Seating in a room is arranged to make sure people can see each other easily and also keep the door in sight.Mirrors are strategically placed to make obstructed parts of rooms visible, or to see who is approaching from behind.
5A Visual Way of LivingVideophones and computers with web cameras are often integrated into areas where everyday life happens-in the kitchen or living room as opposed to being tucked away in an office.Alerting systems are visible, with lights that flash to signal the doorbell or the phone ringing, or a baby crying in another room.
6A Visual Way of LivingAs more is known about living visually, Deaf friendly environments have become part of plans for the future.Gallaudet University is incorporating information from its Deaf Space Project into future building plans for the university.This includes more open buildings with fewer walls and appropriate lighting, and wider walkways throughout the campus to ensure comfortable communication in ASL while walking from place to place.Deaf-friendly concepts are finding wider and wider application in classrooms, offices, senior citizen residence facilities, some neighborhoods and even towns.
9Floor plan Project w elmo See inside the cottages
10Community Connections Opportunity Design an ‘Deaf-Friendly’ floor plan for a two bedroom apt or small house.Single storyKitchenLiving roomEating area or dining room2 bed rooms1 or 2 bathsBe sure to include details that will make your plan Deaf-friendly.Furniture layoutLight systems – what is for whatPhones and computersDoors or doorways?It is important to label your Deaf-friendly features so we can understand what you were thinking when you made your design.25 pts for a well done design and drawing.
11Helpful IdeasUse of partial walls - less than floor-to-ceiling height;Placement of windows – locate them so they produce diffused light, not glaring light;Use of building materials such as clouded glass instead of brick, concrete, or drywall, to create privacy and still feel open;Wooden floors – so banging can be felt from other rooms;Select colors on floors as not to confuse a Deaf person’s wide vision range;Use curved corners instead of right-angled walls or sharp turns;Create an open Kitchen to be visually accessible to adjacent rooms;Position light switches outside bathroom and bedrooms;Implement circular areas to see each other comfortably;Create wide, non-white sidewalks outdoors to accommodate people walking and signing to each other, and avoid glare of sunlight.For more ideas – see article – link below.
12More info Building a house for a Deaf owner Designing a City for the Deaf