Date of Submission

Spring 5-6-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Architecture



Committee Chair/First Advisor

Robin Puttock


Educational settings in the United States are primarily geared towards hearing individuals, posing challenges for those with hearing impairments. In 2020, 95% of school-age students with hearing loss attended conventional schools, while only 47 schools nationwide catered specifically to the deaf or hard of hearing. This oversight in design leads to issues such as inadequate spatial acoustics and limited sign language space in classrooms. My thesis proposes "Architecture of the Second Sense," advocating for a holistic approach to educational design, particularly targeting pre-kindergarten through 5th-grade schools. Drawing from phenomenological principles and the five key DeafSpace design elements—Proximity, Sensory Reach, Light, Color, and Acoustics—it aims to address the educational needs of the hard of hearing community. Motivated by my personal experience of sudden sensorineural hearing loss, I aim to raise awareness that hearing impairment affects individuals of all ages, including young children. Through collaboration with experts and the hard of hearing community, I aim to identify specific educational, communicative, and environmental needs of young hard of hearing students, particularly within traditional educational settings. Located 25 miles Northeast of Atlanta in Lilburn, Georgia, my proposed site aims to cater to the needs of hard of hearing students, building upon the existing Deaf and Hard of Hearing program in Gwinnett County Public Schools. By investigating the challenges faced by thousands of American children in mainstream classrooms, my goal is to bridge the gap between traditional educational environments and the requirements of the hard of hearing community. Ultimately, my thesis seeks to create inclusive spaces that promote a sense of belonging and facilitate cognitive development for all children, including those with hearing loss. By integrating DeafSpace design elements, phenomenology, and holism, it aims to empower young students whose voices may otherwise go unheard.

Included in

Architecture Commons