Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Royal Academy for the Visually Disabled

By: Alicia Luthy

Hello all! Here we are coming back from Thanksgiving break! The semester is coming to an end and everything’s deadline is approaching rapidly. It is to the last few weeks to where we live purely on coffee instead of sleep. Over break I furthered my research into my thesis topic and discovered another great case study. This week’s case study is the Royal Academy for the Visually Disabled. It is located in Tabarbour-Amman. 
The design is based on the Spatial Mental Map Design. This calls for clear lines for movement and functional separation between different divisions. The idea behind the Mental Map is for the people to get a special map of the building in their mind that they can move independently. The building’s circulation is linear and straight allowing for easy navigation without obstructions. With schools for the impaired, lighting is very important. In this academy, the school has a skylight that gives a blue light. However, it is said that the blue light is discomforting to the blind students so it is actually a disadvantage. Navigation is also important throughout the school. Handrails line the corridors and the stairs. On the handrail of the stairs there are circles that tell the students which floor that they are on. Also, there are circles on the wall in different shapes to also help notate which floor is which. The corridors are wide but become narrow in the kindergarten section. Contrast is used to differentiate the walls and the doors. However, the door knobs are the same color so they are not legible. Signage is important, Braille is mostly used throughout. In this academy, the signs are very legible for the visually impairs. Each room has a simple logo that expressed the function of that room. They can recognize the function by touching the logo.  There is a room that is for the visually impaired that still have sight and can read but only large letters. The room strengthens their sight and is colored black for reading easily.
Like the Anchor Center and the Hazelwood School for the Dual Impaired, this academy also relates well to my thesis topic. The approach to navigation in this school is interesting. Although there are some flaws within the design, the approach to navigation with the circles forming different shapes is interesting. Also, I have not thought about rooms for the partially impaired or rooms to help improve the vision of the students. This school is a great example because it not only shows great design features but it also shows what does not work.
I hope every wakes up from the turkey coma and had a wonderful break! Until next time!

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