Deaf Action

A proposal for the renovation of three 19thcentury listed buildings for the Deaf Action charity in Edinburgh’s New Town. Historically, the city has been a leading support for the deaf community, seeing the world’s first school for deaf children established in 1760 by Thomas Braidwood. In 1889, 49 Albany Street became the Deaf Action headquarters, delivering a range of services, such as social work, communication support and youth guidance designed to promote independence and equality of opportunity for deaf people.

The project covers the extensive refurbishment of two former townhouses and a chapel at the rear, elevating the interiors in line with their world heritage status. We recognised the opportunity to enhance the communal value by increasing the access and use of the buildings both to the deaf and broader communities. This is illustrated by a café, gallery and event space, which will also allow the building to be used as a venue for commercial. The interplay of light and shadow evokes a sense of reflective contemplation and helps distinguish the respective functionalities of the individual rooms.

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