Hansel Bauman on DEAFSPACE: Lessons on Perception, Architecture, and Cultural Agency

Start Date: 
Mar 16, 2016

IHCD Lunch & Learn Lecture

Wednesday, March 16th, 12:00PM
200 Portland Street, Boston, MA 02114

DEAFSPACE: Lessons on Perception, Architecture, and Cultural Agency

Hansel Bauman at Gallaudet

This presentation explores the emerging concept of DeafSpace as a profound example of how perception shapes architecture and how inclusive design and construction practices can empower traditionally marginalized cultures and enhance the quality of life for all.

Deaf people inhabit a rich sensory world with a visual and tactile means of spatial awareness; many communicate through visual, sign language and identify with a culture rooted in these cognitive and linguistic sensibilities and shared life stories.  Throughout history deaf people have devised novel ways of modifying their largely hearing-centered environments to fit their unique ways-of-being.  The wisdom born from contending with a misfit environment and these daily acts of cultural customization are the generative source of DeafSpace—a timeless, but as yet formally unrecognized, approach toward architecture that goes beyond accessibility to create an aesthetic responsive to and expressive of deaf experiences.  

The presentation will chronicle the radically inclusive design and research undertaken over the past 10 years at Gallaudet University’s DeafSpace Workshop that created the award winning DeafSpace Design Guidelines—a compendium of over 100 DeafSpace architectural patterns.  Case studies will demonstrate how inclusive design processes inspired by Deaf culture have empowered users and ignited a renewed awareness of architecture and perception. These examples demonstrate how deaf people’s unique spatial sensibilities transcend preconceived limitations of language, culture and sensory experiences to remind us of the deep connection between architecture, culture and wellbeing. 

Speaker Bio:

Hansel Bauman is the Gallaudet University Architect, Co Director DeafSpace Institute (DSI) and adjunct faculty at Gallaudet University. He is the founding partner of Hansel Bauman, Architect + Planner and is a recognized leader in the field of “DeafSpace Architecture” with over twenty-five years of experience in architecture, planning, urban design,  research, teaching and policy development.

Mr. Bauman is the recipient of the International Association of Universal Design’s 2015 Gold Award for the “DeafSpace Design Guide” a catalogue of over 100 architectural patters attuned to deaf linguistic, cognitive and cultural ways of being.  The Design Guide was developed through the DeafSpace Project —an ongoing research and design project—he established in 2006 with Gallaudet’s Department of ASL and Deaf Studies.

As a DSI Co-Director Mr. Bauman has lead Gallaudet’s community engagement and creative placemaking activities supporting the university’s 2022 Campus Plan and 6th Street Development project since 2006. Mr. Bauman’s writings and lectures, including a 2014 TED X lecture explores DeafSpace as a vernacular architecture for a more sustainable and livable world. In 2013 he was appointed to serve on the International Code Committee representing DeafSpace issues on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf.  

About the Institute Lectures:

The "Lunch and Learn" lectures are at 12:00, provide a boxed lunch and are free. Companies presenting will showcase their innovative products illustrating the human-centered design philosophy.