Deaf Spaces Planning and Design

Building design is most effective when designed by someone within that culture who fully understands the multiple cultural elements to be considered. This is especially true of designing spaces for Deaf children and Deaf adults. Having been Deaf since age 2 years, John Dickinson understands the multiple considerations of designing spaces that maximize site lines and emphasize well-placed lighting sources to create an aesthetic that meets the unique visual needs of Deaf and hard of hearing individuals. John states, “By creating spaces that “celebrates deafness”, we can give Deaf children the same distinct sense of belonging and connection that other children experience”.

Designing deaf spaces involves a greater sensitivity to the visual environment, such as subtleties of variation in lighting, building features, and walls that might create barriers or obstacles to their visual paths. Deaf people have acute skills of observation that they acquire in learning to use American Sign Language (ASL) and oral methods of communication (lip reading, speech and cued speech). Therefore, they are more conscious of elements that promote or restrict visual access.