Friday, January 05, 2007

Designing Spaces for Education

A Building with a Mission

St. Coletta School, unveiled September 2006 in Washington, DC, aims to "teach life and job skills to students with the most severe cognitive disabilities, including autism and mental retardation."

Houses are where students will work with teachers and therapists over the course of several years. "Each house is painted a different color, with a transitional color between them. The idea, says Robert Miller, the project architect, is for students to be able to identify a defined space and feel at home in it."

The atrium runs "like a spine through the center of the building. It is free of nooks and crannies autistic children like to hide in."

I read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time a while ago and was intrigued by autism. Christopher suffers from Ausperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. He is a mathematical savant with a photographic memory and is extremely observant, though he has difficulty understanding human emotions and facial expressions.

Miracle Run, a Lifetime movie (yes I know...Lifetime), is also very accurate in its portrayal of life with autistic children. If you've ever wanted to know more about autism, I suggest reading and/or watching both of the above.

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