Living and Learning Residence Hall 6 at Gallaudet University is the first building to be built based on DeafSpace design, a concept that was developed at the same university after years of research on how the usual architecture and interior design elements make it hard for the hearing-impaired to communicate.
The new dorm was designed by LTL Architects in collaboration with Quinn Evans Architects and Sigal Contruction. The architectural firm won the 2010 design competition by Hansel Bauman, Gallaudet’s Director of Campus Planning and Design.
The dorm, LLRH6, was designed to address certain elements that were found to impede fluid conversation between people who use sign language to communicate. The building has a hands-free glass entry doors, a lot of open space, adequate lighting for maximum visibility, paint colors that reduce glare and good acoustics. There is a large assembly hall with terraced seating that allows anyone to see the lecturer up front. Some of the design considerations include hallways that are wide and comfortable enough for people who are signing to pass through, and rooms and halls with good acoustics that reduce vibrations and other ambient sounds that may bother those who wear hearing aids.
The new dorm was not only designed based on principles of DeafSpace, but it was also built to be environmentally friendly with energy-efficient lighting and heating and cooling via geothermal energy.
The LLRH6 can accommodate 175 residents on its five floors with 46 suits and five apartments. It also includes community kitchens, a fitness room, a fireplace, collaboration rooms and a multi-purpose room for the community.
View more images of the building below.