In May we provided a link to a story in The San Francisco Chronicle about Chris Downey ’84, an architect who suddenly went blind last year because of a benign tumor near his optic nerves. Since then, Downey has sat down with Architectural Record for a Q&A:
What defines good design for blind people? What are some of the ways you reach the other senses?
Blind people can perceive quality design; they know if things are well organized. Sense of light, daylight coming through a window, it’s a nice thing if you’re sighted. If you’re blind, you can understand a space based on the movement of the sun. Tactile quality of materials—you might pick a material that looks great, but so what? [That doesn’t matter] if it doesn’t feel good. If it feels cheap, that’s not necessarily feeling like a very endearing place.