Chris Downey: Blind Architect

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Image of Chris Downey, a tall, athletic man holding a cane and text, "Chris Downey: Blind Architect"

Chris Downey is an architect who designs buildings with acoustics and accessibility in mind. When Chris lost his vision suddenly 10 years ago due to a brain tumor, he stayed in his field and applied his new sense of space to his designs. Chris embraced tools such as a long cane and he networked with successful professionals who were also visually impaired. Chris began using tactile floor plans and has designed impressive, accessible buildings such as the San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Duke Eye Center.  

According to Bryan Bashin, Executive Director of the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco, 99 percent of people who become blind have never met a blind person. People who are blind need role models and need to learn blind skills in order to hold a competitive job and live an independent life.

With keen sense of humor and joy just to be alive, Chris shares his story on 60 Minutes. 

60 Minutes article and embed video here.

The following video is the Ted Talk, Chris Downey: Design with the blind in mind.

Here is an older Ted Talk, Chris Downey - New Vision in Architecture. This talk focuses on his perspective of traveling to work and how he relates his non-visual senses to the world of architecture.