The Rathskellar is the student lounge located on the lower level of the Student Academic Center and provides evening meals, beer, wine and other refreshments. The service counter was expanded and improved in 2010 to offer a wider meal selection and the second phase renovation of the seating area was completed at the beginning of the 2011 spring semester.
The seating area was reconfigured to extend sensory reach and improve lighting conditions in accordance with DeafSpace principles. The space was also re-configured to provide greater flexibility in seating and large group gatherings. The ambiance is a blend of the old and the new that promotes sustainability.
DeafSpace principles are applied in subtle but effective ways. The back walls of the seating area are lined with a continuous wooden bench with a high back designed to propagate music vibrations through the bench. The high back provides a neutral background for sign language. Above the bench are a series of old mirrors tilted to allow occupants to detect movements of others at a glance. The tables at the center of the room are round to facilitate clear sight lines.
The mirrors and many of the tables are re-used to promote sustainability and give an interesting historic look to the modern space. Fin walls in the space are painted with chalk-board paint to allow students to mark their initials on the walls in keeping with the Gallaudet tradition of leaving one’s mark as seen in Ole Jim and Tower Clock.