ABSTRACT

In this chapter, we explore how two architects who lost their sight found ways of continuing their practice.1 The first architect we study is Carlos Mourão Pereira, a Portuguese architect who lost his sight in 2006. However, he continues to run his small-scale office and even found his sight loss an opportunity to further his understandings of the multi-sensory nature of the built environment. In this context, he started designing a series of bathing facilities, and our study focuses on the design of one facility in particular: the Sea Bathing Facility in Lourinha on the Portuguese coast. These facilities are not yet built; for Pereira, they are in the first place a way to learn new design methods and explore his new understandings of space. The second architect, Christopher Downey, already had a more extensive career in architecture when he lost his sight. But, like Pereira, he chose to continue his design practice. He joined Smith Group, an architecture firm based in San Francisco, to assist them in the design of a new polytrauma and blind rehabilitation centre in Palo Alto. He is a design consultant for people with a visual impairment and assists in the communication with the client organisation, of which some people are blind as well.