The winning design for Gallaudet University, an internationally recognized centre for Deaf Culture, offers a new model for bridging the hearing and non–hearing worlds.
The project proposes a new building that is sited at the corner of the campus – addressing the city and offering a forum–like space within which the campus and city might engage.
Hall McKnight’s approach derives from the fundamentals of human interaction, ‘meeting, communing, engaging’. It proposes a wide array of spatial experiences, in new multi–purpose spaces within the University and between the campus and wider city. The building has been designed to endure and develop to meet the unique culture and ethos of Deaf experience, acting as a ‘vessel’ to be filled with the lives of its occupants.
The historic core of the University’s campus was originally designed in 1866 by Frederick Law Olmsted – our proposals seek to recognise and frame that condition through an adjusted landscape that extends through the new building to meet the city.
The building is conceived as a little city – a collection of varied spaces, places and atmospheres where people will live out their daily experiences, providing both openness and sequestered places of retreat, gathered around a central shared space. The project’s materiality derives from the oldest buildings on the campus, focussing on values of craft and detail that will enrich human experience, and imbue the proposals with a sense of permanence.