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Modern architecture has made impressive changes over the years and these changes are not only pleasing to the eye, but also beneficial to the larger population. The incorporation of textures and sensory-focused surfaces helps meet the needs of people with different abilities. Tactile design elements being added to your building may help improve accessibility and comfort for visitors while providing unique visual components to the site.

Why Does Tactile Design Matter?

Tactile design matters because meeting the needs of all types of people matters. When your building provides accessible options for those with different needs—such as physical, visual, and developmental—your site can serve more populations. If the building is a multi use site, there could be offices, shops, and residential suites all in the same space. Having those elements all in one place means people from different walks of life will be visiting the building. Having multisensory architecture and a tactile design helps meet the needs of more people walking through the door.

Pavement Textures

Tactile bricks (pavers with small, raised bumps built into them) have grown in popularity over the last couple of decades. These bricks have original roots in Japan when an engineer in 1965 developed sensory pavers for a friend who was beginning to lose his eyesight. The bumps provide those with visual struggles guidance when nearing a street, door, or other point of interest. Other forms of sensory paving typology growing in popularity are parallel lines that give direction and prepare the individual for turns or changes when using a walking stick or cane. This idea can transition to brick inlays or other architectural surfaces on walls where braille can also be incorporated.

Multisensory Spaces

Though the sense of touch is the focus when incorporating tactile design elements into your building, all senses are impacted when entering a new space. Protagoras, a Greek philosopher, stated, “Man is nothing but a bundle of sensations.” Even back in 450 B.C, the importance of incorporating multisensory architecture into building design was recognized. 

Sites with tactie design components–such as sensory pavers and wall inlays—support those with visual, physical, and developmental needs, but more can be done. Multisensory spaces can improve efficiency of rehabilitation and therapy or those involved in similar care. Exploring how texture, sound, and light can be positively impacted within your building brings forth a healing feel to your environment and one many can connect with.

Sustainable Materials

Eco-friendly materials and tactile design practically go hand-in-hand. Not only do earthy, natural products look nice in a space, they offer many environmental and health benefits. Between carbon storage improvements, natural cooling, and more breathable air, finding ways to use sustainable materials in your build can help everyone involved. Biomaterials supporting sensory design being seen more and more are bioplastics, cork, hemp, bamboo, papier-mache, and even algae and similar plant-based goods. These renewable resources can be turned into textured walls, lamp covers, furniture, and flooring.