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Architecture for the visually impaired : design of a Society for the Blind.

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This dissertation documents the research involved in determining an appropriate response for the design of a building which serves to provide tools for empowerment and independence for blind and partially sighted people. Primary and secondary data collection methods are used. Secondary data collection forms the majority of information gathered focusing on precedent and case studies. The studies investigate how buildings are currently occupied, discussing the differences between buildings that have been specifically designed for the visually impaired and those that have not. Analysis observes the problems that exist and what solutions have been proposed to overcome these. Design criteria can focus on detail design exclusively; however the building in its entirety can be custom-designed to meet the needs of the visually impaired user. This dissertation explores architecture as a sensory experience, highlighting findings that can be used when designing buildings specifically for visually impaired users. The visually impaired rely heavily on their senses enabling them to interpret their surroundings. This research includes an exploration into the use of the senses within the built environment and how we as sighted designers can understand, interpret and contribute to a visually impaired person's experience of the built environment. The research concludes on an appropriate response to designing for visually impaired people. Conclusions are drawn and a design brief for a facility for a Society for the Blind derived.


Thesis (M.Arch.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2008.


Barrier-free design., Theses--Architecture.