In Toronto, there are two marked trends in public architecture: the laudable move towards sustainability and the more controversial expression of architecture as a sculptural object and marketing presence. The latter instance may cause accessibility issues that contravene federal building codes. While providing ramps and elevators for those requiring assistance with mobility, hidden disabilities such as limited spatial dexterity, vestibular damage and hearing impairment can prevent those individuals from functioning comfortably, indeed entering the building at all. Including users from the demographic that an architectural project serves always enhances its functional success. The instance of vestibular damage represents 35.4% of adults over the age of 40 (Vestibular Disorders Association [VEDA] 2011). With the results of rapidly expanding research in spatial perception, including consultants from the field of cognitive science on architectural teams for major civic projects could avert such unintended barriers and better serve the public purse. The observations of a scenographer with vestibular damage provide an intimate account of negotiating destabilizing constructed environments.
|Keywords:||Cognitive Science and Architecture, Vestibular Dysfunction and Architecture, Accessibility for Hidden Disabilities, Generational Dynamics of Museum Goers, Spatiality, Kinaesthesia and Scenography, Facilitating Multisensory Learning|
Lecturer and Coordinator, School of Image Arts, Certificate in Design for Arts and Entertainment, Ryerson University and York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada