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architecture of hearing

derek wendt

university of detroit mercy
school of architecture
professor karen swanson
benchmark one
october eighth, two thousand ten
See + Listen : a psychological experience of sound
Born profoundly deaf
Received cochlear implant at age of 8
Attended oral deaf educational program to learn to listen and speak
Mainstreamed from 4th to 12th, with a speech consultant

With cognitive ability and knowledge in both worlds of architecture
and auditory, I am inspired to improve the urban condition for those
with hearing loss.
Noise is always there

Time is central to sound... Sound is time

Deaf experiences
- See, touch, feel, and smell are navigational guides

How does a space communicate without sound?

[ Spaces Speak, Are You Listening? ]
“ [ Deaf people ] are first, last and of all time, people of the eye.”

- George Veditz
Can you detect the sound out of these words?
a baby crying on the airplane
I went down, down, down
And the flames went higher..
a bird chirp in the woods
a wave crashes on shore
water drips in a ruin
The memory serves you to detect the sound

Sound is a cultural force

What about those who can’t hear?

How would they know it sounds like?
Deaf vs. Hearing-Impaired

- communication
- lip-reading, gestural and microexpression psychology
- technological advance : hearing impairments
physical environment of sound - remote control
- speech

you’re from With the eyes
Europe?? (e.g. fire alarms and emergency vehicles)
With a touch
(e.g. vibrating alarm clock and loudspeaker)
(e.g. closed-captioning and texting)


- stereotypes
- communication
- employment

[ YouTube : What a Wonderful World in ASL translation + Bill Clinton’s “I did not...” ]
If a child was born deaf or lost hearing as toddler
- 2 options for parents : Deaf Culture v. Hearing-Impaired

Special Education
- Schools for the Deaf
- Oral Deaf Programs
- Mainstream
- Deaf Universities
- Disability aid offices

Students who lost hearing as adolescent can remain in their schools, but
may seek consultation.
How many deaf individuals are there in the United States?

[ Statistics were not accurately analyzed and studied in Census ]

Sources estimated 1,520,000 are deaf (0.49% of US Population)
estimated 26,700,000 are hearing-impaired (8.60%)

16% are only 3-34 years of age
59% are 55 years and older

Where are the younger generation?

[ Gallaudet Research Institute ]
Schools for the Deaf + Schools with deaf aids

Oral Deaf Programs
Universities [ Deaf + with Disability Aid Support ]

There are two major universities that fully accomodates deaf and hard-
of-hearing students.

- Gallaudet University - Washington, District of Columbia
- National Technical Institute for the Deaf - Rochester, New York
[ Gallaudet Research Institute ]
Gallaudet University

America’s only liberal arts college for the deaf
Founded in 1858 - Accredited in 1954
Adjoined K-12 education programs and services

Admissions select to withstand “deaf culture”
Undergraduates : 1,060 Graduates : 430

[ Gallaudet University , Bing Map + Google Map ]
National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID)

Adjoined with Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)
Established in 1965
First and largest technical college for the deaf

Only 9.5% of RIT’s enrollment
Students : 1,520 Cross-registered : 540

[ National Technical Institute for the Deaf , Bing Map + Google Map ]
Rochester v. Washington
Where do they go after education?

Home or stay within (Deaf )
Move out on own (Hearing-Impaired)

Why do those stay within?

Deaf-Friendly City
Cooperative society, business and enterprise
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Educational workshops and programs
Resources + Amenities
What are the factors in both communities?

School buildings are traditionally designed
No urban condition designed for the deaf, but the campus itself

Rochester, a sprawl city where driving is necessary
Washington, a vibrant congested city

Deaf individuals do not live proximately

What is missing outside of the two cities?

A community void : deaf individuals are “American-born foreigners”
Improve the urban condition for the deaf and hearing-impaired in
which it integrates with the exisiting environment and community
where communication is a factor. Phenomenologically, the urban con-
dition will emerge altogether as detectable, perceptible, and, most im-
portantly, desirable place to live.
What are the architecture factors in deaf diverse design?

ADA Standards
Accessibility . Functional . Technical . Requirement . Bland . Limited

Architectural acoustics
Control the sound waves . Subconscious . Irrelevent embellishment

Visual architecture
[ e.g. Mies van der Rohe + Le Corbusier ]
A hedonistic visual journey . Visual paradigm . One-Dimensional

Aural architecture
[ e.g. Hans Scharoun + Yasuhisa Toyota ]
A phenomenal experience of sound . Lackadaisical approach

Sensory architecture
[ e.g. Juhani Pallasmaa + Leven Betts ]
A phenomenal experience of space response . Lackadaisical approach

[ Americans with Disabilities Act , Architectural Acoustics , Barbican , Berlin’s Philharmonic Hall ,
Eyes of the Skin , Sensing Architecture , + Spaces Speak ]
By collaborating all the architectural styles aforementioned, how can
they polyphonically unite to improve an urban condition?

- Physicality
- Navigation
- Visuality
- Color codes
- Tactility

Universal Design Principles

[ Transmaterial , Transmaterial 2 + Transmaterial 3 ]
Deaf Diverse Design Guidelines

[ Dangermond Keane Architecture + Gallaudet University ]
In response to Deaf Diverse Design Guidelines

1. Sorenson Language and Communication Center, Gallaudet University

2. Urban Development for the Deaf, Washington, D.C. [ in process ]

[ Hansel Bauman + Robert Sirvage, Gallaudet University ]
George Balsley, Deaf Architect/Design Consultant
Lori Cappuccio, Designer, SmithGroup

Laurent, South Dakota : “Deaf Town”

Proposed community town for the deaf - Marvin T. Miller
320 acres - 158 families declared nationally

Failed . Bankrupted . Economical concerns
Centric . Isolation . Contentious
Integration’s a must, not an enclave

[ CharetteCenter , DeafWeekly , New York Times , Bing Map , + Google Map ]
Serving as vital precedent, the Urban Development will be analyzed and
studied upon visit to Gallaudet.

Furthermore, the proposal of the project is to either design a...

New city / urban environment


Adaptive environment
The project can consider to

- expand NTID-RIT’s campus into a gradual city

- extend the Gallaudet’s Urban Development

- adapt in a city accessible by deaf-populated communities
locally, nationally and globally

[ Google Earth ]
My desire is to integrate the deaf community with the existing environ-
ment. In architectural scale, I seek to design a human-conscious urban
environment that accomodates the deaf and educates the ‘hearing peo-

The materiality of the project insists of physical and human-responsive
materials with obligatory design standardss.
A Deaf Mouse [ goes to the airport ] : a cognizant of small scale naviga-
tional urban development

[ Audio : “Everything In Its Right Place” - Radiohead ]
architecture of hearing
derek wendt

university of detroit mercy
school of architecture
professor karen swanson
benchmark one
october eighth, two thousand ten