Seeing Motion Otherwise
Accessibility considerations tend to dominate discussions about disability and the built environment. Although many architects object to the constraints of accessibility regulations, the shallow ramps, wide passages, and spatial continuity typical of barrier-free design are not foreign to architectural discourse. They rather mesh effortlessly with architecture’s long-standing preoccupation with movement. Unfortunately, the proximity between architectural discourse’s focus on mobile experiences and the demands of disability activists distract from considering other relationships between architecture and the human body. This article explores the similarities and differences between mobility disabilities and sensory disabilities and proposes the notion of “perceiving otherwise” to reconsider how architectural space may be conceptualized. It discusses that notion through readings of selected contemporary architectural works, including Rem Koolhaas’s Bordeaux House (1998) and Peter Eisenman’s Memorial to the Murdered European Jews in Berlin (2005).