Zhao Zhou


Urban spaces are designed to focus almost exclusively on the sense of sight. We are on the periphery of a self-feeding cycle of ableism that makes the able-bodied person the required mode of being. But what is an abled body? It is a term we will all, at some point in our lives, understand.

A fully able state is only temporary. Bodies change, and so does our ability to participate. Today, Urban spaces are cluttered with elements that solely rely on this sense. These elements exclude people with visual but also other sensorial impairments. I am one of those people and you might be as well. We comply consciously and unconsciously by filling in our shortcomings and existing outside the standard. We see our reality through a medical lens that is an analogising machine added to the body.

Forced Switch intersects linear transition spaces, such as this particular hallway. It is an apparatus that makes use of air vortexes in order to change the sensory detection from sight to tactility. It acknowledges the presence of visitors within space.

As a visitor, you do not acknowledge the space, because you navigate it only with your destination in mind. The skin is our biggest organ and often gets neglected when designing urban spaces. This project aims to reawaken the skin of the inattentive passerby. This unfamiliar haptic experience creates a temporary identity for the space which is disappearing within a sea of destinations. Directing the visitor toward a different hierarchy of the senses.