New Trend in Architecture: Multisensory Buildings for the Deaf and Blind

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Magnusson Architecture 

New designs emphasize senses other than vision.

​Architecture firms have started to consider the needs of people with a wide range of sensory abilities, The Economist reports.

In doing so, they design buildings that emphasize senses other than vision.

One such building is Selis Manor in Manhattan. In 1991 Al Pacino spent three days there, learning how to be blind for his role in the film “Scent of a Woman”.

If Mr Pacino were to visit now he would find a different building. In 2016 it was renovated, with structural, textural, and olfactory updates—not just visual ones.

This update is part of a broader trend towards multisensory architecture, which considers a building’s acoustics, lighting, tactility and smell.

In October, students from the Yale School of Architecture spent time on Gallaudet University’s campus as part of a studio course to learn how to “extend the limits of human bodies,” as one professor put it, and to listen to deaf students as they explain “their experience of sensing.”

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