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A Library Guide to information about Deafspace, which is an architectural design concept for the Deaf Community. DeafSpace principles are followed to ensure buildings and other environments are essentially Deaf-friendly.

DeafSpace LibGuide


This is a Library Guide for information on DeafSpace, an architectural field of study which is described in the tabs on the left menu: Principles, Resources, Examples, and References. "Principles" explains the general concepts of DeafSpace. "Resources" showcases online links to articles, videos, interviews, and additional information for further research. "Examples" consists of photographs of DeafSpace-designed buildings and other areas, along with drawings that illustrate the five over-arching concepts. "References" lists the resources used in this Library Guide, which offer a further look into the topic of DeafSpace.

See also: Gallaudet University, DeafSpace

Welcome (ASL video clip)


Introduction to DeafSpace

The Deaf community's primary method of communication is through their visual-kinetic language, otherwise known as Sign Language. The visual and kinetic aspects of Sign Language affect how the environment around the Deaf person should be configured. For example, Deaf people always put away centerpieces from tables if they block the sight lines of other people. In places such as dark restaurants or pubs, it is important to ensure that there is good lighting. Mood lighting is bothersome if it is too dim to be able to see the other person clearly.

Deaf people have been adapting the spaces around them for a long time, but the effect was officially classified as DeafSpace in 2005, when Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. hired Hansel Bauman, a hearing architect, to lead a campus design project. From 2005 to 2010, over one hundred and fifty principles were developed from five "touch points." The touch points are: Sensory Reach, Mobility and Proximity, Color and Light, Space and Proximity, and Acoustics. (Gallaudet University, DeafSpace) These concepts are explained in the Principles tab.

Hansel Bauman's DeafSpace Design Guidelines (unpublished draft) describes how space influences an individual's physical and emotional well-being specifically in the case of the Deaf community. "DeafSpace refers to all aspects of unique Deaf experience of the built environment." (Gallaudet & Bauman,10) The idea is that each culture has different sensory worlds depending on what is valued in the particular culture. The Deaf community does not have a specific look or aesthetic, due to the multicultural nature of Deafness. The Deaf community does, however, have a common preference for how a space is built -- as illustrated in the five over-arching principles of DeafSpace.


Introduction to DeafSpace (ASL video clip)