Date of Submission
Bachelor of Architecture
Sensory abilities are what shape our consciousness of the surrounding environment and our concept of the world. Architecture has been based upon aesthetics, function, and form over periods of time to appeal and interact with the senses of its users. What if one or more of your senses cannot utilize space as it was intended? A primary sense in relation to architecture is sight. Which then leads the question, how can architects design insightful architecture for those who can not see it? According to the World Health Organization, there are “285 million people globally with visual impairments, of whom 39 million are completely blind”. (WHO Releases New Global Estimates on Visual Impairments, 2012) This thesis targets the disabilities of vision to illuminate the architectural discrimination that has occurred through the underrepresentation of human perception and bias of visual aspects in architecture. It is architects’ responsibility to ensure design does not exclude any type of individual from utilizing space through multi-sensorial life enhancing architecture.Architecture that is life enhancing is established in three methods; by being informative, experiential, and promoting independence, equality, and growth for all types of individuals. Inclusive architecture can be achieved through seven key design parameters to create beneficial multisensorial design. These parameters consist of lighting, color and contrast, olfactory, haptics, acoustics, materiality, and spatial circulation. These parameters are beneficial to all and can eliminate the segregation that has occurred in the built environment for the visually impaired.This thesis will interact with the senses through these seven key design parameters and implement them through architectural applications that can be utilized in any building typology to enhance the built environment for those with visual impairments. This thesis will act as a barrier-free precedent and prescriptive guide to design for the visually impaired. It proposes a call to action for architecture to recenter its focus on multi-sensory design and remind those of the importance of making the invisible visible to all.
Trevino, Taylor, "Independence Through Unseen Architecture; Investigating Multi-Sensory Design for the Visually Impaired and Blind" (2022). Bachelor of Architecture Theses - 5th Year. 209.