Title page for ETD etd-09102004-231519

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Perez-Betancourt, Laura Josefina
URN etd-09102004-231519
Title Reading Skins: A Braille Learning Facility in Old Town Alexandria
Degree Master of Architecture
Department Architecture
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Emmons, Paul F. Committee Chair
Frascari, Marco Committee Member
Holt, Jaan Committee Member
  • tactility
  • touch
  • braille
  • skin
  • blind
  • school
Date of Defense 2002-02-24
Availability unrestricted
The resonance of a knock on a door uncovers its density.

The smell of a wall describes its materiality.

The texture of a floor may invite us to sit or lay down.

The smoothness of a handrail comforts our ascent.

Human skin is a powerful material that enables us to perceive and understand our surroundings. Skin is highly expressive; based on its color, texture, wear and plasticity we can read it, gathering information concerning culture, ethnic background, age, abuse, health and the tasks it performs on specific body parts. Skin itself reads as it is readable. Our skin can gather data through tactile perception and read our spatial surroundings. Architecture is an expressive act and the only discipline that stimulates all of our senses. An architect designs spaces that foresee and celebrate the bodily interaction of the inhabitant.

The architecture of the 21st century seems to be geared toward a more optic experience, an influence of the digital world and its widespread effect. The architectural body of modern construction is made up of skins that convey no intentions of interaction between human skin, delivering a concoction of low quality materials that time and again are layered the same way and only aim to be cost efficient. The result is a bland, empty and "flat" experience. In a culture dominated by visual stimulation, can the design of architectural skins aid in the reading and understanding through touch of an architectural body's spatial sequence?

  Filename       Size       Approximate Download Time (Hours:Minutes:Seconds) 
 28.8 Modem   56K Modem   ISDN (64 Kb)   ISDN (128 Kb)   Higher-speed Access 
  01_02titleandabstract.pdf 103.51 Kb 00:00:28 00:00:14 00:00:12 00:00:06 < 00:00:01
  03acknowledgments.pdf 33.17 Kb 00:00:09 00:00:04 00:00:04 00:00:02 < 00:00:01
  04ReadingSkins_proposal.pdf 1.01 Mb 00:04:39 00:02:23 00:02:05 00:01:02 00:00:05
  05ReadingSkins_toolsofinvestigation.pdf 2.31 Mb 00:10:40 00:05:29 00:04:48 00:02:24 00:00:12
  06thesisplates_firstfloorplan.pdf 4.92 Mb 00:22:47 00:11:43 00:10:15 00:05:07 00:00:26
  07thesisplates_secondfloorplan.pdf 6.04 Mb 00:27:58 00:14:23 00:12:35 00:06:17 00:00:32
  08thesisplates_thirdfloorplan.pdf 7.48 Mb 00:34:38 00:17:49 00:15:35 00:07:47 00:00:39
  09thesisplates_model.pdf 215.67 Kb 00:00:59 00:00:30 00:00:26 00:00:13 00:00:01
  10thesisplates_section_hillramp.pdf 87.09 Kb 00:00:24 00:00:12 00:00:10 00:00:05 < 00:00:01
  11thesisplates_section_entrancegardens.pdf 4.10 Mb 00:18:59 00:09:46 00:08:32 00:04:16 00:00:21
  12thesisplates_siteplan_eastelevation.pdf 12.29 Mb 00:56:52 00:29:15 00:25:35 00:12:47 00:01:05
  13thesisplates_southelevation.pdf 19.08 Mb 01:28:20 00:45:26 00:39:45 00:19:52 00:01:41

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