DEAF VILLAGE IRELAND

DEAF VILLAGE IRELAND

CABRA, DUBLIN
DERMOT FOLEY LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS

 

Deaf Village Ireland is open to the public but is also designed for the specific requirements of the deaf community. Dermot Foley Landscape Architects (DFLA) developed a unique scheme using DeafSPACE for deaf and hard-of-hearing users. The scheme was audited, or peer reviewed, during the design process and after completion, by representatives of Washington’s Gallaudet University. DFLA maintain an ongoing relationship with the client to monitor the effectiveness of the project.

The Gallaudet University is the world’s leading higher education institution for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. Their design guidelines – DeafSPACE – focus on the requirements of deaf users in the built environment and highlight simple and straightforward techniques or ‘rules’ to improve the experience for deaf users.

The circle is a key geometric device in the application of DeafSPACE. Spaces and furniture arranged in circles allow users to communicate by signing in triangular, or, in the case of more than three people, circular configurations. Because the brief called for a range of spaces for different age groups, the landscape was developed as a series of circular spaces, interlinking, sometimes sunken, other times in the form of simple planted areas, or large circular benches. Clusters of cylindrical seats are also scattered throughout and, together with the ledges on the circular benches, can be used to lay down bags or other items so that the users are free to sign with both hands. Spaciousness and good inter-visibility are also key requirements of the DeafSPACE. The scheme is also designed for sustainable urban drainage. The external surfaces are either permeable, or are designed to direct water to the sunken planted areas and to land drains. All of the details are unique to this project and have been used in a cost effective manner to achieve a robust, yet complex landscape within a restricted budget.