Project Name: School For Blind and Visually Impaired Children
All architecture conforms to an overt visual bias. Eyes, the primary organs that perceive space dictate our essential understanding of architecture. In an exceptional challenge, the architects for this project were tasked to design this building for inhabitation by children with varying degrees of visual perception; a project that demands extraordinary sensitivity and control.
Through a rigorous process of development foregrounding the significance of non-visual perception, the architects evolved tools to seek feedback from the eventual users of the space through three-dimensional drawings and tactile surfaces. By privileging a sensory understanding, the resultant space employs a restrained and minimal palette of materials in service of orientation, way-finding and a heightened spatial experience.
Wall and floor surfaces change textures and formal articulations to orient the users within. The gradually diminishing height in the ceiling changes the quality of sound inside. Each space has a unique spatial organisation and the courtyards are designed as landscaped microcosms rendering a sense of security and orientation to the people within. The changing quality of light in the building aids the pupils in their perception of space.
This tactile environment is designed to be experienced in a sensory arrangement. From a place of restraint, committed to elements of perception, the project highlights the significance of a non-visual understanding of space; the space as a sensory environment and in service of people who perceive the world in ways other than the ones who design it, and therefore, School For Blind And Visually Impaired Children by SEALAB is a Citation Project for The Merit List.
Images & Drawings: courtesy SEALAB; Photographs: © Bhagat Odedara, Dhrupad Shukla, Ayush Gajjar, Aakash Dave, Aneesh Devi, Anand Sonecha