Denison House Renovation

Gallaudet University, Washington, DC

Completion: 2010

Ayers Saint Gross transformed this 1870s house into living quarters for honor students at Gallaudet University. The renovated Victorian serves as a prototype for Gallaudet’s live/learn campus concept, which promotes the exchange of ideas in a more intimate setting than a conventional classroom. The house is named for James Denison, the first deaf principal of the Kendall School at Gallaudet, and had been converted into offices. In returning it to a residential use, the architects consulted students and faculty to create gathering areas, bedrooms and study spaces responsive to deaf culture. The main communal space combines the dining room and kitchen where an island allows students to prepare meals while communicating in sign language with their colleagues. Throughout the house, wall finishes provide enough contrast between the room and the occupant so hands and facial expressions are clearly seen.

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Gallaudet University