Gallaudet University’s new Living and Learning Residence Hall 6 reflects breakthrough concepts in promoting community building, visual language, and collaboration for students of the world’s leading university for deaf and hard of hearing students.

The building features suite-style residences for students as well as faculty and graduate student apartments. An extension of the public spaces of the campus, the ground floor accommodates community spaces including a large, terraced living room, classrooms, offices, and a flexible collaboration (CoLab) studio. The application of DeafSpace Guidelines informed the design to promote interaction through clear sight lines and open spaces, and create thoughtful connections and adjacencies.


  • Design-Build delivery of new dormitory facility
  • Designed to DeafSpace Guidelines
  • Five-story, 175-bed residence hall
  • LEED Silver Certification
  • Collaborative project team with LTL Architects and Sigal Construction


  • 2013 Best Institutional Facility, NAIOP Maryland/DC Chapter
  • 2013 Craftsmanship Award, Washington Building Congress
  • 2013 Merit Award, AIA | Potomac Valley
  • 2013 Presidential Citation for Universal Design
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Gallaudet University sought an environment in which deaf and hard of hearing students could converse safely and easily through unimpeded sign language and visual communication. The architecture of LLRH6 enables free-flowing conversation, including measures such as open stairs and broad ramps, wide corridors for side-by-side conversation, ample use of glass to allow for expansive vistas, tiered floors to preserve clear sightlines, paint colors that minimize glare, and carefully tested acoustical ceiling solutions to reduce ambient noise.

“The residence hall represents a holistic example of best practices involving optimum space, better light, adequate proximity, calibrated color, and good acoustics—factors that matter a great deal (but not exclusively) to the deaf.”

Metropolis Magazine

“LLRH6 gives Gallaudet University students a space where they can live, study, and collaborate in a new way. The building’s design encourages interaction and fosters a strong sense of community.”

T. Alan Hurwitz, President, Gallaudet University


After winning Gallaudet University’s design competition for the first living-learning complex on the historic campus, the design-build team of Sigal Construction with Quinn Evans Architects and LTL Architects was challenged to design a building that would reflect the state-of-the-art in meeting DeafSpace Guidelines, uphold the university’s sustainability principles, meet a strict schedule for completion, and leverage the use of the design-build approach to optimize value. Through savings achieved during the construction process, the team was able to enhance the quality of building systems and finishes. 

The architectural forms and material selection for LLRH6 meld traditional and contemporary aesthetics, acknowledging the history of the campus yet creating a distinctive new presence along the campus mall.