What is it about?

This paper presents a case study of an autism defined experimental teaching-led design project, within a first-year university Interior Architecture course, on which the author is a tutor. It draws on the author’s extensive working knowledge of autism issues, incorporating mediation between SEN schools and design students, and employing research informed teaching. The project involves a new local free school for autism, at a temporary site.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

Universities and design schools have a responsibility to ensure that the education of future designers enables design for special populations, in this case specifically children with autism. The experiment is designed to challenge students, emphasising the importance of understanding how primary research, accessed directly from the end users, informs progressive design thinking. It attempts to influence their design work in subsequent years at university and in practice, and facilitate bridging the gap between academic research and real-life application. This paper seeks to identify how an autism defined project, focused on student-centered learning and encompassing choosing sessions with children with ASD, can be taught in the first year of undergraduate study.


The paper concludes that the project adds value to the student experience, builds student confidence and eliminates pre-conceived ideas surrounding autism. It shows that design can be an interactive process between university and special schools. Equally, the pitfalls of a live project of this nature are highlighted, as is the need for modification before similar projects are reproducible as viable educational models.

Mrs Joan Scott Love
Leeds Beckett University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: SENSORY SPACES: SENSORY LEARNING – AN EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH TO EDUCATING FUTURE DESIGNERS TO DESIGN AUTISM SCHOOLS, International Journal of Architectural Research Archnet-IJAR, November 2018, Emerald, DOI: 10.26687/archnet-ijar.v12i3.1704.
You can read the full text:



The following have contributed to this page