Accessibility and sensory experiences: designing dwellings for the visual and hearing impaired

Camilla Ryhl


This article introduces a new design concept; sensory accessibility. While acknowledging the importance of sensory design and experiences in architectural quality, as well as the importance of accommodating user needs in design, the concept combines three equally important factors; architecture, the senses and accessibility. Sensory accessibility accommodates aspects of a sensory disability and describes architectural design requirements needed to ensure access to sensory experiences and architectural quality of a given space.
In the context of architecture the word accessibility has become a design concept of its own. Accessibility is generally described as ensuring physical access to the built environment by accommodating physical disabilities. While the existing concept of accessibility ensures the physical access of everyone to a given space, sensory accessibility ensures the choice of everyone to stay and be able to participate and experience. The research study described in this article was carried out at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, the Housing Laboratory.

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