Designing in Reciprocity

Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Youth Academic and Physical Education Building

Vancouver, WA

Centering the Deaf Experience

The new campus buildings embrace DeafSpace guidelines to amplify visual communication, including intentional acoustic vibrations to extend students’ sensory reach, low-glare glazing and glass corners. Highly tuned classrooms are paired around project-based learning labs and designed with 180-degree, U-shaped seating to maximize American Sign Language / English bilingual instructional practices and equip students for learning in conversation.

Community-Led Engagement

The voices of students, staff and community directed design development and ensured the school’s educational goals were achieved while honoring Deaf culture. Deaf-led workshops activated broad user engagement throughout the process, informing a design that contributes to campus connectivity, transparency and a sense of belonging.

Optimizing Performance with Mass Timber

Applying discoveries from Mithun’s Building Better Schools R+D study, the progressive design-build project leverages mass timber to significantly reduce embodied carbon and support occupant wellbeing—reducing stress, improving daylighting and increasing engagement in a conducive, home-like learning environment.

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