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Perkins School for the Blind

Grousbeck Center for Students & Technology

A new approach to learning on campus.

As Perkins’ first ever social hub for students, the Grousbeck Center combines technology and recreational amenities to facilitate education, vocational training and social skills development. Students can explore accessible high-tech games, radio equipment, musical instruments, among other new and emerging technologies in a fun and supportive environment. A variety of furnishings invite students to navigate different social situations, and a student-run cafe offers students a framework to learn vocational and life skills.

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Engaging all the senses.

Tactile, auditory and visual cues are integrated into the building. A variety of textured floor surfaces—polished concrete floors, textured rubber panels and carpet tiles—provide directional cues. Differences in surface absorption at major thresholds serve as audible signals. The central lobby and entrances are framed by large windows and colorful walls, providing users with low vision directional information. The lighting design also contributes directional information for users with low vision. Small round ceiling lights demarcate the corridors and long bar lights are positioned above gathering areas and in rooms.

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A contemporary building in an historic campus.

The new building is located on the main entry drive and occupies a prominent site on the Collegiate Gothic campus. To maximize green space fronting the school pond, the building was sited on the “back” of the site. Exterior materials include brick, aluminum panels and glass to create a contemporary and welcoming gateway while relating to the campus fabric of predominately early 20th century brick buildings with slate roofs. Students helped select many of the building materials, including the color and reflectivity of the exterior aluminum panels.


Flexibility expands programming exponentially.

In addition to the student-focused areas, the Grousbeck Center includes dedicated training facilities for teachers and visiting educators. Flexible classrooms expand the school’s educational resource programs and support instructional workshops and professional development programming. Multipurpose rooms that open onto the double-height entry lobby can be divided, expanded and reconfigured to support a variety of presentations and educational activities. Anticipating future changes in technology, raised access flooring allows the school to evolve and incorporate new systems as appropriate.

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274 Graham Gund Partners 2018 04 10 Gene 82 U8