Text description provided by the architects. The design resulted from conversations with the Pattaya Redemptorist School for the Blind’s principal. The new facility was conceived to provide a new learning environment necessary to supplement the programme that, up until this point, he could only dream of offering. The main aim for the programme is to equip all students with fundamental skills for future livelihoods beyond the school’s gate. The school enrols pupils with varying degrees of visual impairment, and abilities thus the facility needs to be flexible.
The school building is a typical reinforced concrete structure with standard square rooms finished in plaster and paint. The new facility is conceived as a new multi-sensory cube finished in vibrant mix of materials and texture, inserted in place of the existing library.
Designed in alignment with Pre-Braille Curricula, the ailing library and adjoining balcony were transformed into a new multi-sensory facility for young children. The balcony’s spatial quality and its location adjacent to circulation route ensure its constant availability. The existing balustrade is replaced with an interactive façade, perforated with light holes, into which “learning pins” can be inserted.
Inside the room, all six surfaces are designed to be interacted with. Children moves through the four walls as they progress through the curriculum nurturing their senses. Touch begins with the most basic shapes, then sizes relationships, texture and weight, to more complex shapes such as animals. On top of the Pre-Braille Curricula, children are taught to recognise potential harm from daily life. In collaboration with a scent specialist, scented capsules are designed to teach pupils about the smell of potential harm such as fire, smoke, gas leakage etc. Sound specialist made binaural recordings of various environment to stimulate students’ perception of the world. The lighting is designed to exercise and stimulate visibility in low vision children. The floor is embedded with braille tactile letters, Thai, English, and numbers for basic braille introduction.
The project intends to be a prototype for cost effective multi-sensory facilities aimed specifically at creating firm foundations from which individuals can grow and prosper. The design, as well as knowledge compiled during the project lead time, have been made available to the public. As such individual households can modify the information to their appropriate circumstances so that as many children as possible will have the opportunity to grow up without boundaries.