The SenseAbility Project aimed to develop a channel of communication between visually impaired and sighted people. We achieved this purpose by offering a multi-sensory perception experience through the built environment. We chose a series of famous houses and proposed an innovative tour. We provided blindfolds and white canes for all the visitors. Sighted people had to discover the inside of the house by covering their eyes and using all of the other senses. At the end of each tour, we organized an open informal discussion where everybody had the chance to share their experiences, their discoveries, their fears and their favorite elements from the tour. The incredible part was achieving some very intimate and sincere sharing experiences. The visitors were very empathetic, extremely curious and open to learning new things. We had both sighted and visually impaired visitors, brought together by a common purpose, to reveal an unknown space without the use of sight. Through SenseAbility, the space generated empathy, interaction and authentic communication.
The second part of the experience was a group activity. A team of up to four people had an hour to assemble a 3d model of an apartment using a building set made by us. We provided a solid rectangular base of 9x6 meters, modular walls and furniture. This activity also took place in the absence of sight. Even if the participants knew each other or not, they had to negotiate in order to achieve the common goal. We photo-documented all the 3d models and we noticed how diverse and creative were the solutions. This was a great way of increasing people’s trust in their other senses.
The third and fourth edition of SenseAbility took place in the Rosetti Villa. Built in the 20th century by Romanian architect Nicolae Ghika Budesti in a Neo-Romanian style, this was the home of Ioana Stirbei and Radu R. Rosetti.