Cultivating spaces for extraordinary artists

Architecture Beyond Sight

Partially sighted artist Rachel Gadsden demonstrates her working method using large-scale expressionist an dynamic wall paintings, to Architecture Beyond Sight participants.

Does a visually beautiful building always offer a beautiful experience?
If architects worked with an aesthetic based on touch and sound would their buildings be dramatically different?
" I want to live in the pulse-hot thick -of-it, Where the nights jive, where the streets hum," The Sue Napolitano Dangerous Poet

This ground breaking project has come out of the magnificent work of Dis/Ordinary Architecture previously known as Architecture Inside Out.

Dis/Ordinary Architecture develops practice with disabled artists in the built environment in new ways. Dis/Ordinary has observed the immense value to commissioning and involving creative disabled practitioners into the field of Architecture.

Co/Director Zoe Partington and world specialist in creative Audio description and writing in built environment training, "observing architecture through non visual interventions and mapping would make our cities and architectural practice more inclusive and cutting edge."This project backed by Alan Penn he observed the visual as a dominant force in architectural education as detrimental to Creative Excellence.

Zoe enlightens "The built environment needs to recognise and value the people who inhabitat it as human beings that are different and for this reason excluding certain groups is counter productive to a well balanced society that celebrates everyone. "
Architecture Beyond Sight (ABS) is a project that aims to challenge architecture’s tendency to prioritise the visual over other senses. By enabling blind and partially sighted people to study to become architects, it investigates how design can incorporate other ways of imagining and creating space.

Get Involved We are asking blind and partially sighted people who would like to take part in the taster programme to email a summary (maximum 250 words) of why they would like to study architecture to by Wednesday 15th May 2019.

Running alongside the course will be a series of open lectures presenting alternative perspectives on Architecture and Design. If you would like to know more about the public talks or about the whole project, please contact

The project is based at the Bartlett School of Architecture, part of University College London (UCL) – recently named the best architecture school in the world. Together with The DisOrdinary Architecture Project, it is developing a course for blind and partially sighted people to offer ways of designing that do not rely on the visual.

We are looking for creative and enthusiastic blind or partially sighted people to take part, aiming for a total of 12 participants. Students will study for free and be provided with free residential accommodation and access support. The course will take place at the Bartlett School, Gordon Street London WC2 from Monday 22nd July to Friday 26th July 2019. It will be led by blind and partially sighted creatives and makers as well as architects and others from the School.

BackgroundThe DisOrdinary Architecture Project brings disabled artists together with architectural students, educators and professionals to rethink access and inclusion in creative and innovative ways. We were commissioned last year by the Dean of the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL to explore how to develop a study course for blind and partially sighted people who want to become architects.

A team was put together which included blind and partially sighted creatives, established Blind and sighted Architects, and UCL Lecturers. We spent three intensive days undertaking various tasks, scoping the issues. It was a highly successful research process and all agreed that potentially a full Foundation course could be developed, creating real opportunities for blind and partially sighted students and for the industry itself. This Summer School week long taster programme is the next stage in the process towards this goal.