A Request for Proposal

‘Crossing the street: creative placemaking for cultural exchange’

Through its 2022 Campus Plan, ‘From Isolation to Innovation’, the University has challenged itself to ‘re-orientate its campus to foster a vibrant living and learning environment, greater social interaction, and better integration with surrounding communities’.

The focus of the competition is predominantly on ‘the creation of place’. Teams should consider how to reinvigorate and rejuvenate a part of the campus that has been somewhat ignored in the recent past, respecting the inherent quality of Olmsted’s historic landscape whilst at the same time making it appropriate and relevant for today and in the future. Consideration should be given to the impact of the design on both the historic area and the wider Gallaudet campus.

The purpose of the project is to create a liminal zone, a transition between the hearing and non-hearing worlds, whilst also providing a fully inclusive, inviting and active public realm, appropriate for all its users to gather in and enjoy. The accompanying buildings, both proposed and re-purposed, should provide public-facing facilities for the University and presenting a welcoming and confident presence to the city.

The new campus should form a creative and cultural destination at the heart of a revitalized neighborhood, providing a new public face for the University and acting as a vibrant place of civic and cultural exchange between institution, neighborhood and city.

Collaboration is vital to the project’s success. Teams should draw on a wide range of skills exceeding those of the typical design team. Please think creatively about who to bring to the project, focusing on what a truly inclusive place means and how to celebrate sensory diversity through innovation. A team might include specialists in human behavior, performing and fine arts, communications technology, wayfinding and engineering disciplines, amongst others. Certainly, the project aims to inspire new thinking about communications technology, wayfinding, and branding, all of which should contribute to creating an international exemplar of inclusive and innovative design.

Teams are asked to use, and even develop, the principles of DeafSpace pioneered at the University to create an environment which is purpose-designed for its main user groups through thoughtful and innovative design and placemaking, whilst still being inviting to all.

Finally, and fundamentally, the project should be framed by social, economic, and environmental sustainability in its principles, practices, and design.

A summary of the competition scope is provided under the Project tab, including an indication of the competition site.

The competition focuses on the public realm: plazas, landscape, streetscape and historic campus grounds. A number of select buildings are also included. The spaces and buildings in the competition are described in summary below:

6th Street Streetscape: 6th Street is to be developed into a vibrant and active retail street with a sense of place that will be expressive of the overall vision as a creative and cultural destination. The adjacent public realm between the new and existing buildings should provide spaces to cater for a range of activities from individual enjoyment to temporary group events.

Gateway Plaza: A new pedestrian gateway into the campus from the southwest, which will provide a new public face to the University and draw the outside in by extending the campus beyond its traditional boundaries.

Gateway Pavilion: A single story structure, conceptualized as a publicly-facing building for the University’s use which will contribute to the University brand and be expressive of Deaf experiences, history and culture.

Olmsted Green and Faculty Row: Olmsted Green is the campus’ historic heart, bordered by Faculty Row to the west. As indicated above, this should be reinvigorated and rejuvenated, respecting the inherent qualities of Olmsted’s design whilst making it appropriate and relevant for today and in the future.

House No. 1: This building was constructed as the University president’s house in 1867, and continues to serve this purpose today.

The Edward Miner Gallaudet Building: Currently the University’s visitor center with administrative uses on the upper floors. The location of this building — between Olmsted and Kendall Greens — and the axes it creates from the Gateway Plaza and 6th Street corridor make this a strategically important building for an important academic and social-focused building on site.

To learn more about the project and the design competition, including the competition procedures and requirements, please download and read carefully the Search Statement.