Smart higher education buildings are designed to promote community

Spaces for higher education require smart design. The sheer mass number of people from all walks of life makes it necessary to use practical durable solutions and materials to promote community. Architects designing colleges and universities are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to plan structures that are accessible for everyone, but sometimes, Gizmodo reports, the deaf are left out of the equation.

For example, Gallaudet University has recently built a new structure that puts the unique needs of deaf students first. Building program guidelines stipulated that deaf students should be able to communicate more easily. Because communicating with others relies on hand motions, stopping to open or close a door can often interrupt the flow of a conversation. Design solutions for this include doors with motion sensors that slide open. Wider walkways also allow students to talk with peers or professors side-by-side with ease. Too often hallways in are too narrow and hinder those using sign language to communicate because each party is unable make visual contact with each other's hands.

"Deaf culture centers around the language," said Bauman a few years ago, according to the news source. "The language has all the elements of architecture-the spatial kinesthetic of sign language, the desire of deaf people for the visual access that open space affords-lends itself to express the deaf way of being."

To promote community in common area public spaces, design professionals can create interior environments that all students, regardless of how they communicate, can use. Boston's Shepley Bulfinch utilized SCULPTCOR® for their award-winning Brody Learning Commons for Johns Hopkins. Taking inspiration from diverse elements and forms in nature, SCULPTCOR® by ASST is a patented thermoformed architectural wall panel system that is fabricated from non-porous, durable, stain-resistant, and easy to clean solid surface. Appropriate for a variety of uses, the wall panel sizes are 24×64 nominally and are presently available in three standard patterns: Twist, wave and smooth. Panel reveals can be specified either straight or curved in five (5) standard colors: Pure white, cream, warm white, frozen white and white lotus. Additional colors and special panel sizes are available. The largest uncut pressed panel size available is 29.5 x 72.

SCULPTCOR by ASST can be utilized in a variety of project applications such as wall panels, column covers, retail facades, elevator cladding, casework, ceiling panels and furniture. Complete Autodesk 3D REVIT file and 2D standard details and specifications are available for download.

Please contact ASST at 717.630.1251 x305 for architectural support or x307 for specific project estimating assistance.

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