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About Robert Nichols : I, hearing loss architect, feel that international networking is very important. I traveled in Italy and in the rest of Europe for the fellowship research. I met with several hard of hearing people, including architects, designers, teachers, and researchers in the field of architecture who could discuss their country’s codes. I realized that some of them in Eastern Europe had little sensibility for people with disabilities in the public accommodation. I think it is very important to work with them and advocates for people with disabilities to build a bridge to foreign countries in order to positively influence disability policy.
An objective of the design development, from what I’ve perceptually viewed, for the public and private building projects is non-object projecting to an open space area, allowing deaf, hard of hearing and disabled people to inhabit a sensory world that offers visual and tactile means of spatial awareness. An open space for any spaces in the modern building of various environmental living and work is located both inside and outside of the structure and has been designed to be free of barriers that could limit the movement of the deaf and hard-of-hearing while they communicate with one another. Deaf people communicate through visual sign language and identify with a culture rooted in cognitive and linguistic sensibilities. From small residential renovation to a large commercial building, the space has been designed with a sensitivity to the ways in which deaf residents, employees, and visitors alter their environment through acts of cultural customization, often carried out in a communal effort to enhance spatial awareness, visual communication, and social connection. Through a particular arrangement of furniture, careful adjustments to usability lighting levels, and the colors and patterns of materials, the spatial organization for those with hearing loss can be extended beyond accessibility to create a new vernacular architecture responsive to and expressive of deaf experiences.
From my experience as a deaf architect on the design-development, construction document and administration phases for the different type of building projects, I have largely overlooked the needs and design inspiration inherent to deaf sensibilities. Such an oversight is symptomatic of a lack of attention in contemporary design practices to the fundamental relationship among the senses, architecture, and well-being—validating the “distorted perceptions that further distance the procession from the public a large.” Through a close examination of the making of an open space in the center, this project shows spatial organization as a more empathic approach to design grounded in an awareness of the relationship among architecture, culture, and sensory experience.
A methodology on my future is to develop on the “natural lighting” research which refers to the type and quality of light that will reduce shadows and promote safe visual communication for its deaf and hard-of-hearing people. The accessibility of natural lighting depends on such factors as a space’s size and the level of light coming in from such sources as a skylight. For example, in the museum, the pros and cons of natural lighting are solved through a conceptualized design sensitive to the way in which visual cues circulate throughout the museum’s space.
The design program provides a new understanding of the relationship between human experience, culture, and the fundamental aspects of the building that are valuable in building a more livable and sustainable world. In conjunction with the programming, its design creates a public and private spaces in which people are able to move throughout the space without having to be segregated along a route. The social interaction through cultural behaviors and sign language communication while directly moving through the space helps people more comfortable experience.
Nichols Design Associates, Inc.
University lecturer, other subjects Education, research, training
Sept. 1979-May 1980; Cornell University, ITHACA/USA; M.Arch Degree in Urban Design
Sept. 1975-May1979; Cornell University, ITHACA/USA; B.Arch Degree
Summer 1977; Harvard University; Graduate School of Design,BOSTON/USA
1980-1983,Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Inc., DC & NYC/USA
1983-1985, Cambridge Seven Associates, Inc., CAMBRIDGE/USA
1985-1987,Sasaki Associates, Inc., WATERTOWN/USA
1985-1988, Design Instructor, Boston Architectural College, BOSTON/USA
1987-1993, Trimble, Nichols, Steel Architects, BOSTON/USA
1993 - present, Nichols Design Associates, Inc., DC/USA
1994, "Accessibility of Washington, DC" National Building Museum, DC/USA
1995, "Excellence in Universal Design", Smithsonian Institute, DC/USA
2010, "Private Residence Kitchen Renovation", AIA/DC Chapter (District Architecture Center), DC/USA
2014, "The Veditz Museum Center", Design For All Conference, PARIS/FRANCE
1989, "Accessible City of Boston/USA", Sister City Conference & Exhibition, Boston City Professional Group, PADUA/ITALY
1980, "City Segments", Architecture Gallery at Cornell University, wutg Colin Rowe's Graduate Students in Urban Design, ITHACA/USA
2016&2017, World Deaf Architecture Symposium, American Institute of Architects Convention, PHILADELPHIA & ORLANDO/USA
2014, Good Practice Award, Design for All, PARIS/FRANCE
2005, Commendation Award, Hopedale Town Hall Ramp, Architectural Access Board, BOSTON/USA
1998, Honorable Mention, New Public Space Competition, AIA Buffalo/Western New York Chapter, BUFFALO/USA
1997, Pro Bono Publico Award, Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, The Washington Architectural Foundation, DC/USA
2006, "Accessible Design", Custom Home, Page 98-101(customehomeonline.com), September/October 2006, USA
2005, "Watermark Awards", Builder, Page 284 (builderonline.com), May 2005, USA
2002, "Building A World Fit For People: Designers with Disabilities At Work", Adaptive Environments Center, Page 82, 2002, BOSTON/USA
1999, "New Public Space Competition", Competitions, Page 14, Summer 1999, LOUISVILLE/USA
1997, "Universal Design: Usability Plus", AIArchitect, Page 17, March 1997, DC/USA
1995, "Acoustical Design Of The New York Railway Stations with Improved Accessibility for Hearing and Visually Impaired Persons", The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, WOODBURY NY/USA, ISSN: 0001-4966
Microsoft documents, Advanced
ArchiCad (Graphisoft), Advanced
BIM for Archicad, Advanced
Adobe Photoshop CS4, Advanced
COURSES, SEMINARS AND WORKSHOPS::
1985, Real Estate, Harvard Graduate School of Design, CAMBRIDGE/USA
SYMPOSIUMS AND ACADEMIC CONFERENCES::
2017, "2nd Annual World Deaf Architecture Symposium", President/Speaker, AIA Conference, ORLANDO/USA
2016, "World Deaf Architecture Symposium", President/Speaker, AIA Convention, PHILADELPHIA/USA
2014, "Deaf Space", Co-Presenter, AIA Convention, CHICAGO/USA
MEMBERSHIPS & ASSOCIATIONS:
1985-present, American Institute of Architects (AIA), Boston Society of Architects & AIA/DC Chapter/USA
2016-present, EDRA (Environmental Design Research Association)
2014-presnet, NKBA (National Kitchen & Bath Association)
Skiing, bicycle, hiking, reading, writing.
United States of America
Awards received by Robert Nichols
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