Professional - BluEdge
Design + Fabrication Lead
Built - Model Making
Client: Eastern State Penitentiary
Philadelphia, PA
Now a museum, the Eastern State Penitentiary (built 1829) sought to make the panopticon-inspired radial architecture organization more accessible to visitors who have low or no vision abilities.  Therefore, they sought, not only to have a durable site model made, but a model that could communicate materiality, form, and architectural highlights through the sensation of touch. 
Architectural models are most commonly understood through sight.  In order for touch to begin to play a role in understanding the architecture, important features needs to be scaled to a size relative to the average finger, about 10-15mm wide.  In the cell blocks, light wells were enlarged from their proportional size to protrude more, and communicating the individuated nature of each cell.  Paths around the site were rendered smooth, whereas grassy areas were rendered bumpy through the generation of a displacement mesh in Rhino.
This project was funded by a private grant to make museums and other historic sites more accessible to individuals with different abilities.  Consequently, this project incorporated meetings, research, and consultation with experts at NYU’s Ability project, curatorial experts at other museums, and historic preservationists familiar with the architecture of the Eastern State Penitentiary.

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