Architectural antagonists: Deaf Architecture Front

Deaf Architecture Front’s launch event

What advice would you give to someone who wants to do what you’re doing?

DAF is the first deaf-led architecture platform in the UK. Our perspective and expertise is unique, with resources that will inform policy and practice. 

Why did you start Deaf Architecture Front? 

Currently, my role establishing DAF is on a volunteer basis, supported by paid consultancy work in addition to working full time. When DAF receives the right level of funding it will enable my role and that of the expanding team to be on a paid basis.  

What is the single biggest change you would like to see in traditional architecture practices? 

Who does your team consist of? 

Deaf people face many barriers to engaging with architecture and the built environment. Often architecture events are not advertised as British Sign Language (BSL) interpreted and or accessible. This needs to change. 

What has been your ‘landmark’ achievement? 

Being deaf, you face more barriers than your hearing peers – but stay focused and work through each day a challenge at a time. Look for the missing gaps within your field – they will be there – and think: how can I resolve that within practice? Where do I want to be?

Source:Becky Bailey

Source:Becky Bailey

Be determined in your approach. Your experience is valuable and you bring that to your practice.

Inclusivity within architecture becoming mainstream, with resources readily available in accessible formats as standard practice.

What role are you filling that traditional architecture practices aren’t, or can’t?

Deaf Architecture Front


To make good on its BSL Act, and provide inclusive access for the deaf community throughout the public sector. This means more funding for BSL interpreters, creating opportunities for young deaf people in the workplace and on work experience.  

What is the single biggest change you would like to see from the government?

DAF launched at the RIBA in June, which was a huge success with over 70 deaf people in attendance. It goes to show that when you provide opportunities people will engage. 

Mandating that all public consultations provide BSL interpreters so the deaf community can engage in the built environment and their communities. 

Founded in 2023, Deaf Architecture Front (DAF) is a platform to bridge the gap between the deaf community and the architecture industry through activism, consulting, research, and resource-sharing.

The Q&A was filled with insightful ideas from members of the audience about what architecture means to people and what its future could look like. 

Currently, I [Christopher Laing] am the sole member of DAF. Once I have registered as a charity I will slowly build a team alongside the trustees, with a community outreach officer, designer, finance officer and DAF consultants. 

Is DAF volunteer-led? 

DAF is building a bridge between architecture and the deaf community, supporting networking, providing consultation services to firms wanting to improve access, and campaigning for improved and equal engagement rights in the world of architecture.