Tactile architecture

Is it possible to count the windows on Malmö’s Turning Torso skyscraper just by using your fingertips? Yes, if the building is one metre high, about 20 centimetres around and standing on a base. This exhibition displays ten tactile Malmö buildings as an example of how design, architecture and digitalisation can work together to make the city accessible to everyone.

Tactile architecture is architecture that is experienced via touch. Today tactile pathways exist so that people with impaired vision can get around in urban spaces. But such individuals have not been able to experience how cities are designed. The City of Malmö’s Urban Planning Department has therefore produced 3D-printed, tactile models of some of the city’s iconic buildings so that more people can access the city and so that individuals who do not have impaired vision can explore the buildings in a new way.

The models, which are in the scale of 1:250 and consist of environmentally sound plastic, have been modelled by the Urban Planning Department’s 3D team and printed in its own model workshop. Printing out Sankt Johannes Church takes 24 hours, whilst the City Library or Turning Torso takes a bit more than 48 hours. The exhibition is constantly expanding with more models.

The idea behind the Tactile Architecture exhibition came to Johanna Hesselman, the Urban Planning Department’s accessibility advisor, when she travelled home to Malmö and saw Turning Torso rising up into the sky.

The exhibition is a collaboration between Form/Design Center, the City of Malmö’s Urban Planning Department, and the Malmö City Library, where the exhibition will also be on display from 22 April to 17 May.