A proposed Edmonton highrise will not only be visually beautiful but also appeal to one's sense of hearing and touch as well, thanks to the work of an architect who is blind.
On Monday, Edmonton City Council unanimously voted to approve a 35-storey mixed-use tower on Jasper Avenue and 120 Street that will be home to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind's (CNIB) new offices. The building will also include retail spaces and apartments for the blind and those with low vision.
The CNIB is working with U.S.-based architect Chris Downey, who lost his sight after a surgery eight years ago.
"A big part of appropriate design for people who are blind or visually impaired is that's it's multi-sensory," Downey told CBC News.
Downey is a proponent of designing with vision loss in mind. Changing small details like lighting, floor texture, colour and sound in a building can make a huge difference in terms of accessibility.
“The idea that we’re all sort of quote ‘normal’ and all walk around with two legs and have typical standard procedures and see and have all sensory capabilities, that’s a fallacy,” he said to Global News.
The building will feature details like colourful glass fins that will make it easily visible from a distance for people with low sight and audio signals to let elevator passengers know what floor they're on.
“By any measure this is a spectacular building,” Mayor Don Iveson said according to Metro News.
Also on HuffPost:
"You don’t need to put everything you like into a space in order to create a well-designed room. Select key items and ensure that they’re presented in the best light or vantage point possible," says Tucker. "That could be a lamp, subtly bringing light and interest to a corner or an item of artwork featuring prominently on the wall. Decide what you want to be the main point of interest and let everything else in the room compliment that."
"Lighting is so important when creating the perfect room. I like to layer light, so you can create the right atmosphere quickly and easily," says Jemma Cowen of JC Decor. "For example, have spotlights for function, floor and table lamps for a more relaxed feel and candles for an intimate atmosphere."
"That beautiful dining table, that tall wardrobe, that comfortable sofa… they’re all great until you’ve bought them and they just don’t quite fit into the space. Measure, re-measure and if you’re not 100% sure, measure again!" says Tucker. "Also, keep in mind how wide your entrances are and how tight your corners are. If you’re ordering, for example, a corner sofa, make sure that it’s able to separate for ease of movement."
"For a calm and relaxing room, it's important not to have too much clutter," says Cowen. "I always tell clients to just have the items they want to look at on display. Put that pile of letters in a drawer and find a place to store the mountain of shoes at the front door. This really will make a huge difference."
"When buying a large piece of furniture, buying the best you can afford will pay off in the long run. Plus, quality always stands out," says Anna Palmer of Anna Palmer Interiors. She also reminds us to stick to the original brief: "If you have your eye set on a beautiful piece of furniture that looks great but doesn’t allow that extra storage you were looking for in the first place, you could end up feeling frustrated with a purchase that doesn’t fulfill your needs."
"Don't be skimpy when it comes to dressing your sofa," says James Lawrenson, Senior Interior Designer at Atlas Interiors. "Use two or three pairs in contrasting colours, patterns and textures."
"Painting the ceiling the same hue as the walls will help to erase shadow lines that visually define a space," says Palmer. "A white ceiling against a darker wall immediately shrinks a space. When the wall and ceiling are the same colour, it’s harder for your eye to tell where the room’s perimeters start and end, so the room looks larger."
Thought large furniture made a room look smaller? Not in the bedroom, according to Lawrenson. "Small scale furniture only makes a small bedroom look smaller. Try a high bed and a tall headboard and your room will grow!"
"Unless your walls are freshly skimmed going shiny will show up each and every imperfection and drive you crazy. Matte paint looks and feels super luxurious; it's almost like having velvety walls," says Abigail Ahern, interior designer and author of 'Colour: Banish Beige.' "The more expensive brands are the best way to go. These are made mostly from natural pigments from rocks, minerals, earth and clay, resulting in a more complex pigmentation that you don’t get with cheaper paints."