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Accessible Design
 
Museum for the blind
Hi!
Well, I am a student of architecture, currently in 4th year and preparing for my thesis. I i intend to make a museum for the blind. My guides suggested that it would be appropriate to make an institution inclusive of a museum for the blind.

Hereby, I started with my case studies, wherein I studied the Blind People's Association in Ahmedabad.

Well, I don't know how to judge an institution for the blind, because, unlike them, we can SEE the institution.
So then what should be the approach for the purpose? And do blind people appreciate art? My initial efforts of interviewing the blind have shown a negative direction towards this question. So what should I move ahead with...can anyone help?
Anuj Daga
Responses
 
Museum for the blind
Ozgur Basak Alkan
Museum for the blind
Hi Anuj.

Each month, the National Gallery (London) holds a session for blind and partially sighted visitors. I didn't know about it until this week, when our instructor talked about it. It really impressed me.
I think you can share their knowledge by contacting them via email or fax.
Rashad Gasimov
Museum for the blind
Thanks Ozgur. The links and the information that you provided me were very useful...

I just wonder if it would be possible to obtain the architectural drawings of the Light house building in Chicago! It was interesting to see that.

Actually I am a resident of India, and I am not finding any building here that has been specially designed for the blind.

Also one of my research questions was to study "can architecture exist without identity/image?" This was to understand that how do blind appreciate urban space or do they not?

Also, thanks to Mr. rashid... but how could I get the e-mail of the above group?
Anuj Daga
Museum for the blind
Dear Anuj,

You should e-mail the Lighthouse organization and ask them about the plans of their building. As for case studies India, you may find it useful to contact organizations (Im sure that there are some!) of the visually impaired. There's got to be at least a Braille school.

As for your question regarding 'architecture without image'... let me remind you that there are many different forms of visual impairement and total blindness is only one of them. I think to choose 'architecture without identity/image' as a theoretical program for your building would reflect a complete misunderstanding of what visual impairement is. It is not only incorrect but also shows a negative viewpoint assuming that blindness is a lack... How about a design motto that focuses on something that is not referenced to 'normal' sight? Something positive and constructive?
Ozgur Basak Alkan
Museum for the blind
Dear Anuj,

You should e-mail the Lighthouse organization and ask them about the plans of their building. As for case studies India, you may find it useful to contact organizations (Im sure that there are some!) of the visually impaired. There's got to be at least a Braille school.

As for your question regarding 'architecture without image'... let me remind you that there are many different forms of visual impairement and total blindness is only one of them. I think to choose 'architecture without identity/image' as a theoretical program for your building would reflect a complete misunderstanding of what visual impairement is. It is not only incorrect but also shows a negative viewpoint assuming that blindness is a lack... How about a design motto that focuses on something that is not referenced to 'normal' sight? Something positive and constructive?
Ozgur Basak Alkan
Museum for the blind
Hi Anuj,

Your topic is very interesting. A small contribution from my side. I had visited one garden designed for only blind people. When we visited the people asked us to go inside with closed eyes. The experience was too good. This garden is in Chennai. I don't remember the name of the garden, but it was very near to the Fashion Institute, Chennai.

If you need more information, e-mail me.
Smita Suryawanshi
Museum for the blind
Thanks so much Smita...
I do not know your email address.
Can you help me more with the garden and the kind of activities that take place along with recreation?

I am also thinking of designing a "Cinema theatre for the blind."

So basically it will be a recreation hub for the visually handicapped.
Please share your experiences...it will be really helpful...can I see some pictures of the place?

My email address is anujdaga3ATrediffmail.com
Anuj Daga
Museum for the blind
Anuj, Why not focus upon the senses that people without sight have? The sense of touch is one, but there are also the senses of hearing, smell and taste which become more sensitive and more acute when a person is sightless.

If I was sightless, I would appreciate somewhere which had harmonious sounds, and interesting smells and tastes.

I can remember once when I stayed in Prague in 1990 and went to a Church to hear a new musical composition played upon the organ. It was so cold in the Church that I closed my eyes and then I listened to the music flow through my mind in many different but interweaving themes and strands of sound. Magical. :)))
Frank John Snelling
Museum for the blind
Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

I am definitely looking at all kinds of senses other than touch...
actually touch becomes the strongest sense in the absence of vision. But yes, I would love to play with sound and smell. I am definitely working with smell through landscape, but somewhere I am a bit confused about how to use sound with architecture.

Unfortunately, here in India, especially in our studios, the curriculum is more focused on a "buildable programme" and that is why we lose out on "research". Hence, most of our time is spent in building, rather than thinking...

I keep on thinking abt life without vision, and come up with some ideas, which are philosophical and psychological; but it turns out to be fruitless, because I do not get encouragement.

One of my weird ideas was to make a "CINEMA THEATRE for the BLIND"....could you share your ideas on this topic?
Anuj Daga
Museum for the blind
Hey Anuj,

This is Tapasya...hey even I'm an architecture fourth year student. Your idea of designing a theatre for the blind is very intriguing. Because what aspect of entertainment are you referring to in terms of a cinema theatre for the blind?
Tapasya Roa
Museum for the blind
Hi Anuj,

I am just a third year student but just got moved by your thesis topic "Museum for the Blind". I am eager to know how architecture speak in absence of visual senses. How architecture is going to be expressed in terms of sense of touch, smell and hearing. The communication, flow through the space... and what type of museum? A museum of musical notes, or artworks that can be touched or distinguished by olfactory senses? I think 75% of blinds won't appreciate art but 75% of them will be interested in music, as they are all adapted to it so much. My opinion is to make the blinds traverse through the free space of varying exhibition of music. Music can be anything from the dripping of water droplets or any music from nature or even classical A.R. Rahman's making. May be I don't know much but I would like to know the progress as I found a challenge in this topic.
Rameez Salim
Museum for the blind
Rameez,


Where do you get your information for the claim "75% of blinds won't appreciate art but 75% of them will be interested in music, as they are all adapted to it so much"?

I worry when we make such sweeping (and to some extent insensitive and patronizing) statements.

Take a look at the following articles and websites:

Art Beyond Sight.
The Art of Seeing Without Sight (New Scientist).
Beyond Vision: Integrating Touch into Museums (Braille Monitor).
Unveiling Art for the Blind (Art Access, Inc).

Ozgur Basak Alkan
Museum for the blind
Hi Anuj,

The topic is really worth doing...I had this as my second option for my thesis....
I'm also not aware of the considerations, but heard of tactile floors, blind tours in museums, tactile paintings, etc.

Maybe you can take up any blind institution for study and analyse their behavior and end up giving your own solution for a museum.

All the best,
Shiva
Shiva Raman
Museum for the blind
Thanks to all of you who have shown interest in my topic. But right now, I am as confused as you are in terms of what I'm going to do!

Well, I should thank Rameez thanks to whom I could get some websites out of Ozgur... Thanks Ozgur.

Well, I'm looking at what are we doing specially for the blind. Handicap is OK but when today, architecture is gaining a big face value, how are we treating all equal in terms of giving architectural experiences?

That is the inquiry of the project...
Anuj Daga
Museum for the blind
Hi Anuj,
I am a student in my last year like you and I also am working on a project for a museum for the blind. I would like to connect with you to share our data and work together.

Thank you.
Fulla Fared
Museum for the blind
hi fared....could we share our e mail addresses...mine is anujdaga3@rediffmail.com
Anuj Daga
Museum for the blind
hi anuj
my mail (fulla237@yahoo.com)
thanks
Fulla Fared
Museum for the blind
i hope this will help you
http://www.herbcompanion.com/articles/02_03_07-gardens-for-the-blind
Fulla Fared
Museum for the blind
hi anju
thats a nice one i will try and see wat i can get 4 u my email id is nurafa@yahoo.co.uk
Abdulkadir Hamza
Museum for the blind
hey there, i think it's a very interesting idea. i found this image that meant a lot, follow this link and u ll see it:

http://editorial.gettyimages.com/search/Search.aspx?eventid=73873253&isource=gilive_pc_1.2.1

i think it's a brilliant idea, when you start thinking of the rest of the five senses, and how rich architecture can result when u feel and hear instead of seeing..even smells can be used in certain sectors as in ladscape variety..
Suzan Shalabi
Museum for the blind
oh thanks ppl

dont mind...but my name is ANUJ and not ANJU....hehehehe

fulla, i was not able to mail you on the provided ee mail address....can you revise it for me
Anuj Daga
Museum for the blind
hi my name is mansi ........... i am also a final year student ..........
u n i are thinking on the same lines but have different interpretations...........u are building for the blind ...... a building which would not be seen .... and i want to build yet not build ............i dont know if u get me.......i want to make a structure yet not have rooms...... but make a programe ........ my topic is ganga riverfront design but my biggest problem is that the university in mumbai says we have to make a structure....i wanted to make a platform (stage ) for the daily rituals along the river front.......my site is allahabad........please help .....
Mansi Sahu
Museum for the blind
Hey Anuj,
I am an architect from Hyderabad, India.
My final year thesis was 'centre for the blind'.
Like you I also got lots of negative impressions and at one point i even wanted to quit.
But, if you have not delved too far yet into your topic, I recommend the following movie - 'Sparsh'
Visit the Blind Relief Association in Delhi. These will be real eye-openers in terms of understanding the various arts, the blind appreciate.
Lastly I would like to say....The blind are definitely people with lack of a sense, but in the end they are also people who go about doing everyday chores and leading lives like others. Dont start working by discriminating.

All the best...
Any further queries you may contact me directly on laxman.rk@gmail.com
Laxman Ramkrishna
Museum for the blind
Thank you so much for your positive responses.
It has been now a while that I have been studying on the topic��and constantly I keep thinking ��WHY�� this topic��
So now I started thinking about the architecture around��and there is dissatisfaction in me about the kind of architecture that I am seeing around in terms of sensitivity and context.

Therefore, the questions that arise are that are we blind?
Hence, my process has been to find our the reason for such blindness, and then treat the user as blind and create some architecture that is more sensitive to the environment.

Thus, I am using a blind user as a tool to spread awareness about our own surroundings.
I feel, at this stage, that it is definitely very conceptual and metaphorical��but I will be working on it to make it more pragmatic and practical.

Of course the functions will be something to cater with the blind people, but the architecture will try to speak something else. This is because there is more to architecture than only visual appreciation.

I need some help to select a site. Meanwhile my parameters to find a site are to identify a ��blind�� site. Now I am using blind only as a generic and trying to find some site which does not have context to its surroundings. It might also be interpreted as a site which misguides the user, making him/her ��blind��. Misguiding the user means the site is not able to identify with the user. The site hence does not have any identity. Thus the site is BLIND. A blind person does not have any visual identity for himself. Hence, I use blind as a generic to zero down to a site.

Also, I am reading the book blindness by Jose saramago��
Its really very interesting��.i world recommend everyone to read it.
Anuj Daga
Museum for the blind
plz neglect the As above...
i dont know how they have come!!!!
Anuj Daga
Museum for the blind
anuj, "there is more than meets the eye" they say. and it is true. but also there is more than meets the senses.
don't forget the spaces as the effect from mass and time for the people. like warmth, windy, cool, hot, ect.
best luck 2 u.
Farid Nazaruddin
Museum for the blind
hi anju
i found your toipic is very interesting..
and it make me go back to the university days when im doing my masers in architecture.

actually my prof asked me to di a thesis paper on beauty..
but for the first timewhen i m doing my presentation i got lost with the critisism any how waht i learnt is beauty is not whati see or what i feel though we are blind or not .. it is about how beautiful your mind is .. then you ll see the beauty. and understand it.
likewise when yo do things for the blinds as a wholistic thingi dont think that you should think that they are blind.. then what wil happen is when you go insite and if you can see you have to close your eyes..
instead of that what you should think is the rest except the vision...
the total museum can be utterly dark. and you can make everyone blind inside.. so how you make people moving. and how can these places be secured and horror free.. these spaces will be such for the people whoc can seeonly.. for them it is ok to have few lights in someplace.. and still the objects can be in dark spaces where everyone has to touch and understand.. so in some spaces in such dard spaces blinds will speak and share their views with the people who can see but they are blind cos thereis no light..
for security you ll be able to work out a monitoring system , a magnetic card which will locate every one in the building and the movements can be monitored by a computer and any bad is going on the lights can be switched on suddenly in such spaces...
so i hope my thoughts would be helpful for you to carry your project ahead .. think different .. close your eyes and design .. check what have you drawn and how does it appaer in light and dark..
another thing is analyse blindness more.. you ll reach the top if you found anything new with it .. all the best
Tharanga Suresh Edirisooriya Arachchige
Museum for the blind
Did you visit any Blind restaurent?I did onc ein Zurich...That could spark you up!
br
Althaf
Althaf Abdul Hameed
Museum for the blind
Hi all,
I just completed my Design Dissertation "Cinema for the Blind" in May 2008. thanks for the great discussion. I must also share that the thesis won two prominent awards - The National Award for Best Architectural Thesis and The Charles Correa Gold Medal in 2009. I really appreciate this platform which has provided a lot of critical arguments. I also realize that I met Mansi at the National Jury (hi!) and hope to see you all some time.
Mail me at: anujdaga3@rediffmail.com
Anuj Daga
Museum for the blind
congratulations, Anuj Daga
Ben Huser
Museum for the blind
Hi Anuj,

I am also working on the issue of making art accesible to the blind and visually impaired. You can get information abaout my MA thesis on the folloving link

http://www.acikarsiv.gazi.edu.tr/index.php?menu=2&secim=10&YayinBIK=2547

As a part of my PhD work. I would like to work on a project to design a museum for the blind and visually impaired. My mail is laleoruc@gmail.com

If you would be kind enough to reply via mail. I sincerely want to discuss you and make my work more meaningfull.

Thaks in advance

Lale
Lale Oruc
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