A color photograph of a light skinned woman with auburn hair sitting in a colorful striped chair; she wears a black top, a colorful print skirt, and a sleeveless black top that shows arm tattoos; behind her is a wooden shelf containing a turntable and records

Alexa Vaughn

Garden Club of America/Prince Charitable Trusts Rome Prize
September 5, 2022–July 14, 2023
Landscape Designer and Accessibility Specialist, Los Angeles
Project title
Sorda Nella Città Eterna | Deaf in the Eternal City: Deaf and Disabled Storytelling and Creative Investigations in the Aesthetic Intersections of Accessibility and Historic Preservation in Roman Landscapes
Project description

My study—through the eyes of a Deaf American woman—will explore the aesthetics of Deaf and disabled experiences of Rome from ancient to modern times, with the purpose of shaping new methodology for accessibility and inclusion in the Eternal City. By looking beyond basic accessibility guidelines (the ADA), by treating lived experience as expertise, and through the lenses of universal design and DeafSpace principles, we can creatively imagine new modes of historic preservation in Rome, without sacrificing the essence of place. Through visual studies, mixed-media sketches, sensory mapping, and storytelling, I will celebrate Deaf and disabled experiences in Rome to grow collective understandings, create a model for Rome and other historic cities to define and balance both aesthetics and accessibility, and forge a more inclusive practice of landscape architecture and historic preservation. This project will be published in a future book and shared through lectures and exhibitions.

The photograph by Alexa Vaughn was taken by Claire Paice.