Gallaudet University Residence Halls

Gallaudet University Residence Halls

Date: 2011 – 2012
Area: 64,268 ft² / 6,006 m²

Washington, DC

Gallaudet University is the nation’s foremost University for the deaf and hard of hearing. Studio Twenty Seven Architecture worked with the Gallaudet community of students and faculty to improve the common spaces of all of the residence halls. Disconnected and isolated from the overall campus, the existing public spaces of the residence halls were perceived negatively by students and prospective students. Inside the dormitory common spaces, the sense of proximity to the Olmstead-designed campus space outside was lost. There is an absence of threshold, transparency, or clearly defined path between the exterior and interior public spaces.

Working within the Deaf Space guidelines developed by the University, Studio Twenty Seven Architecture developed a design solution for the halls of Gallaudet that addresses this disconnected condition. The solution for these interior design issues incorporate external factors such as campus view corridors, building approach, and path. The implemented design emphasizes overall campus connection as well as the cognitive, haptic, and proxemic concerns of incorporating Deaf Space into the residence hall interiors.

Awards | Press

2017 AIA DC Presidential Citation for Universal Design
2016 SCUP | AIA Committee for Architecture for Education, Excellence in Architecture for Building Additions, Renovation and Adaptive Reuse
2014 Remodeling Magazine Grand Award Winner
2014 AIA DC Presidential Citation
2014 AIA VA Merit Award for Excellence in Interior Design
2014 Inform Award, Object Award Category
2014 Inform Magazine, No. Two
2014 Remodeling Magazine

All photos copyright Anice Hoachlander

“[Deaf people] are first, last and for all time the people of the eye.”

~ George Veditz in 1910, President of National Association of the Deaf

In hallways, corridors and other movement spaces, the design intentionally provides transparency into adjacent spaces, allowing visual access to activities. Circulation, balconies and activity areas within multiple-story spaces were designed to be staggered to provide visual connectivity.

Rythym and Datum – Repetitive and continuous architectural elements were used creatively to reinforce continuous visual re-alignment.

Deafness is not a disability, it is a difference in human experience. This difference breeds solidarity and a predisposition towards collective action in the University community. More than most constituencies, decisions made at Gallaudet required a multitude of inputs. As architects, this is not always an easy thing to integrate into the design process. For this client we were expediters of a process rather than executers of a plan.

Gallaudet Residence Halls Studio Twenty Seven Architecture