How is architecture handling accessibility?

I came across an interesting comment concerning acoustics and accessibility in architecture. Twitter user @dwell tweeted about how technology enabled Chris Downey, a blind architect, to continue his work after losing his sight.

I am probably not alone in thinking of architecture as something very visual. This article comments that blind and visually impaired

listen to space to recognize where they are and what they’re looking for.

I immediately thought of the awful acoustics I have experienced in various workplaces. If I had trouble with them with my sight, how would someone with no or low vision experience them?

Then another thought popped into my mind: the idea of DeafSpace, explained nicely by Gallaudet. DeafSpace also involves acoustics because

[no] matter the level of hearing, many deaf people do sense sound in a way that can be a major distraction, especially for individuals with assistive hearing devices.

So acoustics matter in architecture to people with both sight and hearing disabilities. Hmmm. I wonder how many architects think of that and discuss that with people who have differing levels of sight and hearing.

Once again, getting out of the ivory tower – in this case, the ivory tower of architecture – and meeting with people with disabilities can be the start of some interesting discussions. Of course, if people with disabilities can get inside the ivory towers, maybe change can start to come from the inside.

Are you getting out of your ivory tower, or breaking into one?

See our resources list for more information at

Web typography fun with @font-face

Dear typography fans, we found a few entertaining links for your enjoyment.

"The Potential of Web Typography" is probably for the hard-core typography geek. Do as the authors say and read John Daggett's primer about @font-face first. Then read about the potential of web typography. As they say, "fine typography has always been one of the stumbling points of web design." Now, with support for @font-face in Firefox 3.5, new magic is possible.

@font-face is the reason why John is messing with fonts in different browsers. It's fun to watch his article load in the browser because the visual can change (which is exactly why John is messing with fonts. 🙂

Typekit should be mentioned, while we're discussing typography. (It's not really related to @font-face, but it is big news for anyone interested in typography.) Read the Typekit blog to discover what plans Typekit has in store. Here's a snippet from one of the first blog posts:

We've been working with foundries to develop a consistent web-only font linking license. We've built a technology platform that lets us to host both free and commercial fonts in a way that is incredibly fast, smoothes out differences in how browsers handle type, and offers the level of protection that type designers need without resorting to annoying and ineffective DRM.

It seems that typography fans have plenty to keep them busy in the near future.

Hat tip to Kate Walser for inspiring this little post with her tweet about the link to the potential of web typography article.