Autistic care — Architecture Competition by

Rethinking Competition to design a daycare center for autistic children — ‘Autistic care’​ Design Challenge by UNI

Fig: 1 — Autism is a neural disorder affecting many children worldwide. Despite having special needs these children are capable of leading successful lives.

Differently able

“Autism is not a disability, it’s a different ability.” — Stuart Duncan

Autism is defined as autistic spectrum disorder which is a kind of disorder that creates challenges in the communication and behaviour of the person. It is observed through a variety of symptoms and ways. The level of severity can vary considerably in each person, depending upon their condition and complexity.

There is trouble experienced in understanding people and feelings. They have a hard time observing what people think and feel which causes a certain problem in their self-expression and self-creation. In these stages, there is an essential need for care and concern offered by both the family and special caregivers who know how to handle and empower these autistic people with love. To handle and provide for children affected there are various autistic-friendly spaces created around the world. Although there are at least 1 in 160 autistic children around the globe and hence creates a need to understand their needs and requirements.

Fig: 2 — Autistic children require a refreshing, nourishing and caring environment for their development.

Caring environments

ASD (Autism spectrum disorder) is seen in more contrast in the younger generations, from their childhood experience various basic problems in their growth and their way of behaviour.

Children with autism spectrum disorder are characterized by a combination of two unusual kinds of behaviours: deficits in communication and social skills, and restricted or repetitive behaviours. These symptoms may vary greatly in severity.

Thus making them in need of friendly and caring people around them at all times. The major spaces that they spend most of their time in are play and care spaces.

Considering the wide spectrum of their capabilities and needs, there is a range of activities that need spaces that are specially customised to their needs.

How can architecture aid in their wellbeing and what strategies can aid this design?

Fig: 3 — Proper play spaces that stimulate the child’s growth and development are necessary for autistic daycare.

Brief of the Competiton

Creating a care centre and play space that has been designed particularly for the ASD as a major focus group.

Brief: This challenge aims to design an autistic care centre for children aged 6 years, where this place will play a part as a play and care centre for the kids.

This space is expected to be designed with consideration of sensory architecture methods.

Design for basic architectural requirements of an autistic child, which requires you to design a space where these children can play and be cared for.

Spaces that are visually enticing and create a dialogue with the child who cannot verbally express.

Design Objectives

Concept: Exploring different and innovative ways how one can make the spaces made for autistic children more engaging and a kid-friendly atmosphere.

Access: The centre must employ a barrier-free design to grant access to all types of autistic patients around the site.

Interact: Create a conscious sensory design that aids and supports the triggering and control of their senses.

Harmony: The design of the centre must be exclusive enough to offer a safe and secure environment for autistic children, but at the same time must not be isolated from the neighbouring context.

Context: The design must respond to the (existing) site conditions. The wider socio-cultural, economic and environmental settings are to be considered in the design approach.


Fig: 4 — Site image

Site Area: 4105 sq.m.
•Height limit: G+2 or 6 metres
•FAR (Floor Area Ratio): 1
•Ground Coverage: 30%
•Coordinates: 41°33'08.4"N 72°40'43.1"W

Approximately 1 in 54 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The causes of the increase in Autism rates can be due to genetic, non-genetic, or environmental influences. These children have special needs and requirements that are to be fulfilled through consciously designed spaces.

The site is located in the Middlefield town in the state of Connecticut. In 2014–2015, 8,278 or 11.3% of children with disabilities (ages 3–21) had autism. In wake of this, the state has introduced initiatives for clinical resources like hospitals, care facilities, study and treatment programs. Additional (financial and mental) support services for the family of autistic children are also promoted.

The site is in an urban locality that is surrounded by residential neighbourhoods and large green pastures of land. It provides ample space for recreation, care, and expansion in the future.

Area Programme

The play and daycare space is to be designed for 30 autistic kids ageing below 6 years old.

Space ideas: Administration — Recreational — Rest spaces — Play areas

  • Lobby area
  • Playspace
  • Rest space
  • Play areas — Open

The spaces are provided in broad categories leaving the participants to explore the detailed space division by themselves. Other ancillary and additional spaces are to be added by the participant.

Find all the competition brief, terms, and other registration guidelines on this

page: Autistic care | Healthcare Building Competition on UNI | About

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