Specifically, speakers Cathy Lord, a clinical psychologist and director of the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain, and Jacques Black, president, DaSilva Architects, were talking about autism and the growing prevalence of the disorder over the last 20 years as awareness and diagnosis of the disease has grown.
"We need to become more sensitive to how to design environments for these people," Black
Lord and Black
collaborated together in the design of The Center for Autism
and Developing Brain, a partnership with New York - Presbyterian Hospital
, Weill Cornell Medical College
, and Columbia University
and the New York Collaborates for Autism.
2. Careful use of color : Both Lord and Black
acknowledged that color is an important part of creating a less institutionalized care setting, however, it can't be too bold or "visually loud" to cause distraction or agitation.
The solution in their project was to use muted blues, greens, and yellows in a controlled fashion with the furnishings or as wayfinding.
"Our center looks colorful without being overwhelming," Lord said.
3. Purposeful design: Black
says it's important to include a range of experiences for patients, but cautions that autistic kids can be sensitive to certain textures.
To address this concern, he
said the center includes a range of touchable materials, including rubber flooring, matted walls, and wood surfaces.