After the successful completion of a tiny home build for local non-profit LIFE Village (Living Innovations For Exceptional), the Department of Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment is beginning their second project with the organization. This fall, instead of building a tiny home, the students in the Building Science Architectural Design Studio III will be collaborating with LIFE Village to design housing schemes specifically intended for the users which they will serve -- adults with autism.
As outlined in the course syllabus; for those with autism and related disorders, “the built environment is often unbearable and confusing” (adapted from Architecture for Autism, http://architecture-for-autism.org/). Adapting the CONTEXT of the physical environment to support changes in the social environment for those on the autism spectrum presents a significant design problem. Throughout the semester, the studio will  examine an array of relevant research topics,  engage in a variety of empathy exercises, and  explore a range of architectural strategies to counter what Andrew Brand identifies as the “…risk of placing people in buildings that do not meet their needs or aspirations.”
Through the design process, the students will work with the board and faculty to provide spaces which strive to determine the needs of the users and facilitate those needs through creative design solutions to support LIFE Village’s mission to “create a community which fosters a place for adults with autism to live, learn, and grow”.
The final project deliverable for the semester will be completed schematic design proposals for the LIFE House on behalf of the project sponsor, LIFE Village, Inc. Additionally, a final charrette will be administered to provide a master plan for the community of housing for LIFE Village’s future vision.
The future intent for this sponsored studio is to utilize the design proposal from this studio and construct a second home for LIFE Village within the Department of Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment’s IDEXlab program.