How Do You Design When You Can’t See?

August 9, 2010
By Cherry Crayton

That’s the question The Wall Street Journal recently asked Chris Downey ’84, an architect in San Fransisco who lost his sight in 2008 after undergoing surgery to remove a brain tumor. You can see his answer in the following video:

NC State magazine profiled Downey in its Autumn 2009 issue, and you can read that piece through this blog entry we posted in September 2009. As you’ll see, we asked Tony Deifell to shoot Downey’s photo for the magazine piece. Deifell, who runs a project called Why Do You Do What You Do, asks people to write on a piece of paper their response to the question “Why do you do what you do?” and photographs them holding up the sheet. Here is Deifell’s photo of Downey:


Read more about Downey in Architectural Record, AIA Architect and The San Francisco Chronicle and hear an interview with him from the National Federation of the Blind’s Slam News. Visit his website at


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