architecture : urban : visual culture

Space perception: Rehabilitation Institute for the Visually Impaired in Tata

When designing the building for the visually impaired in Tata, Balázs Falvai DLA, Márton Nagy DLA, Balázs Tatár and Dávid Török DLA, that is the team of dmb studio were inspired by the uncertainty of people living in a constant darkness, the lack of perception of spatial boundaries, and the aim of finding the positive presence of a world without contrasts.

At the beginning of the design process of a building for the visually impaired in Tata, the architects were really concerned about the spatial uncertainty of people living in a constant darkness without the ability to see. The loss of perception of obvious, visible spatial boundaries evident for the average people has become the dominant element of the planning process.

In connection with the house for the visually impaired, to find the positive presence of a world without contrasts as a result of losing the senses, has posed an exciting challenge for the architects. At the beginning of the planning, there was an abandoned school building on the construction site. Besides demolishing the split-level part of the ensemble, which was dysfunctional in terms of accessibility, the architects proposed to keep the structure of the five-storey dormitory building. A key objective was to provide an environment in which visually impaired can feel and move safely, just like at home. For the non-sighted the most important means of orientation is hearing.

Therefore a floor plan system should be designed in which the changes in the depth of space are able to facilitate the orientation of visually impaired inside the building. So the building design was based on the duality of solid form elements and empty spaces created between them. A linear arrangement of the central space is the right solution for the blinds, because the passage of time also helps their spatial orientation i the spatial perception of depth resulting from the perception of reflected sounds.

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