Dwelling in Braille: A Transitional Community for the Visually Impaired

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Virginia Tech

The blind community is extremely diverse with different ranges and types of visual impairment. Some of those who identify as blind can see colors, some can see depth, and some see nothing at all, and most develop blindness over time or due to an indecent, rather than being born with it. "Dwelling in Braille" strives to be a community where people who have developed blindness can live and learn to adjust with their impairment. The overall form explores the architectural concept of expansion and contraction, creating a sense of space that can be observed with sound and material rather than sight alone. The spaces within utilize floor materials of varying firmness and finish to help tell the user what kind of space they are in. To aide in wayfinding, there is a channel that houses a system of modular, tactile pavers that tell the user what destination they are traveling to by running their seeing stick over them. This creates a sound, a rhythm, that is both felt and herd. "Dwelling in Braille" also provides amenities such as office space both for leasing and trained professionals to help new residents, a gym, lounge spaces, a rooftop terrace and a flexible space that can hold resident gatherings, lunches and other events. In addition to the rooftop space, there is an outdoor space on the ground floor of the western side of the project that allows users to interact with space other than their own unit and walk their service animals. Its site was specifically chosen as a location that provides several amenities for all users as it provides metro and bus access, pharmacies, grocery stores, and restaurants all within a short walk.

Architecture, Blind, Accessibility