This research into the development of an expertise centre along with 7 schools for deaf and hard of hearing students from years 0-20, was supported by the Gemeente Amsterdam and Koninklijke Kentalis. How could a “campus” of structures express the world of vision and touch? Several unique solutions were explored across two very different locations.
Seeing and feeling are the primary means of spatial awareness for the hard of hearing. The design should reflect and recognise the sensibilities and cultural identity that evolve from the visual-kinetic mode of sign communication. For example visual connections, over long distances and between floors in the building, are critical.
On one of the sites, possibilities of linking to a new flexible transport hub, located at the edge of the city, could maximise the use of drop off points with other surrounding programmes. This could double in providing a very generous roof top, green play, nature area. On another site, in a more established city centre neighbourhood, there was a potential to maximise informal and formal social contact for the students and staff. This could also link to local wildlife and adjacent waterways.