Heading towards barrier-free environments…

Heading towards barrier-free environments…

A Study based on urban and architectural composition, as well as universal design criteria, revealing living conditions of people with reduced mobility and people with disability and social consequences. Focusing on the existing situation in Greece 

DI arch. Konstantina Theresia Vozikis

PhD Dissertation submitted at the Vienna Technical University - Faculty of Architecture, under the guidance of Prof. Christa Illera


Totally different is the notion of the Greek film: "Λόγια της Σιωπής" (Words of Silence - 2002, GR) directed by Lucia Rikaki (Λουκία Ρικάκη). It is a documentary about sign language and reveals the present situation of mute and deaf people living in Greece. Testimonies mention the fact that the lack of speech is often treated like an illness and in conclusion, most persons deal with this impairment with pity or react shocked, when e.g. they see deaf people riding motorcycles on the street. Some of them reveal that society combines muteness with deafness and deaf-mute-ness with idiocy. They also refer to cases, where they were laughed at when communicating in sign language. Besides society's direct prejudices, some facts are presented, e.g. that there are 25.000 deaf persons living in Greece and that they have to pass an ID-test every 5 years to renew their driving license.

This film is a remarkable attempt to awaken society's attitudes towards the problems PwD have to face today in Greece. Half the film is mute and sing language is only translated with the aid of subtitles on the screen. This and other details reveal the real interest of this film in creating an atmosphere reminding of deafness, while keeping to a more silent atmosphere. Every spectator will remember the ambience during this movie and the evident problems and difficulties of people with hearing or speech impairments! It is also with the aid of such films that society's attitudes might possibly change little by little, hopefully!

The whole text of the dissertation is available in pdf via TU Wien