An Architect's Story: Chris Downey

An Architect's Story: Chris Downey



to walk through the city as an architect without sight your mind is really active picking up all sorts of really incredible environmental cues as an architecture student when I walked through a city I like to read in between the lines architecture has given me a lens to view the world through one of the first things I learned as a student of architecture was learning to look up to study the world around me and that's important for everyone it was very unexpected I lost my sight in surgery to remove a brain tumor an essential part of dealing with my blindness was embracing the challenge that's sort of that leap of faith you have to take as a designer as an architect you never know what the answer is but you have to believe in the process within a month of losing my sight I went back to the office to start figuring it out with new technologies that I can take architectural drawings and print them in tactile form when I'm reading a floor plan at the building my mind is actively thinking about all the materials the composition the warmth of Sun coming through the window all sorts of things that were always there available to my mind but in reading drawings with my eyes I was more passive I'm always very careful to say that I without sight not without vision my idea of vision is to see with more than just your eyes this really accessible in a way that our consumers who are in wheelchairs or walkers or use canes they can feel comfortable Chris taught me that you shouldn't be designing for the average man or the average woman that doesn't exist anything can happen to anyone that changes their physical limitations the great thing about teaching is being around students it's great to be able to step out of the profession and have fresh new perspectives my advice to students today is to really think about architecture to see possibilities to really study things my vision for architecture is pretty ambitious it's about so much more than just making a beautiful building it's about making connections extending community and bringing more people together so to look up is to really appreciate the environment around you and to look into unexpected places and to see things or experienced things that you might otherwise miss out on you you


10 thoughts on “An Architect's Story: Chris Downey

  1. Hi Chris how are you doing I hope you fine by his grace. You really inspire me very much with this video,may God bless you,guide you and protect your families and friends….I want to be an architect and I want to know if I qualify to join the AIA National school.

  2. This is wonderful and inspiring …. on a personal level because I am totally deaf since birth and am a proponent of Deaf Space design (it's also applicable for nondeaf people as well … practically everyone has physical limitations whether they're babies, children, adults, or senior citizens).  Keep up the good work, Chris!

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