Page 1

By India Cornish


Project Introduction 4

Brief 5

Film Research 8


Subject Research 10 Intended Use 28 Historic Study 34 Future Development 38

Site Analysis 42 Environmental Analysis 48


Building Analysis 54 Structural Analysis 62 Case Studies 66 Design Precedents 90


User Requirements 96 Spaces and Building Context


Conclusion 98 Bibliography 100


Introduction This report is providing research to aid the design of a small autistic school specialising in motion theraphy and rebound theraphy. The site that I am research is the Old Leeds Library on York Street. It is located on the A64 to the east of Leeds. The A64(M) is a major road conecting Leeds, York and Scarborough. It was formaly Leeds Library and Public Bath, however has layed derrilict for the last 30 years. It is a Grade II listed building built in 1904 by HA Chapman for Leeds City Council. The building posseses features that work well for a small motion and remound therapy school. With the ground floor prodominantly being a large open plan space, which allows many design options. While the 1st floor also has a large open plan centre, however there are also a number of small rooms off the centre, these could be changing rooms or staff areas. The front of the building is not very bright due to the windows being small, as well as the building being North facing. However, the back of the building would be well lit during the day due to it being south facing, this is extremely important as a minimal of artificial light should be used in an autistic school. This buildings location possesses many challeneges that will need to be reviewed in the design process. This is due to the site being located on an extremely busy main road, which is not only a safety risk at a school but also the noise can be a problem due to autistic children having hightened sences.


Brief I am designing spaces within an small school for children with autism, promoting the importance of motion and rebound theraphy. My client is a small charity wanting to start a school within the East of Leeds City Centre.

My Client would like to place an emphasis on integrating Sensory Spaces which are designed to support learning activities, developing key life skills such as; vocalization, gross motor skills and colour recognition. Their future goal is to provide more small specialist schools inorder to give children with autism future prospects. The aim of the school is to provide autistic children with an education and key life skills such as; hospitality, relaxation skills and communication skills. This will provide them with the opportunity to be able to live as much of a normal life as possible, it wil provide them with the skills needed to optain a job and live alone. The users will be aged between 11-19 years old (secondary school). With them attending every weekday for 39 weeks of the year, between 8:45 am and 3:15 pm. There will be a maximum of 30 pupils, in classes of 5 - 8 pupils with either 3 to 5 trained teachers The building itself is Grade II listed with many features on the facade. These features are imperative to maintain for future generations as the building itself is a historic landmark within the City of Leeds. It is extremely important that a low arrosal design is produced, as this is the most important aspect of designing for autistic people. Other key design approaches that should be considered are; temperature control, accoustics, choice, safty, colour and ‘Chill out’ zones. The building was previously Leeds Library and Public Baths, which relates to the educational aspect of my project. However although the area is extremely historic, over the years it has been built up to become an entrance for traffic flow into the centre of Leeds (A64(M)) rather than somewhere that people want to stop and browse. The introduction of a new school to the area, could increase the number of people stopping and accessing the surrounding area, increasing business in the area. It will also increase the number of people wanting to live within the schools catchment area. The outside space is a crutial element of my design proposal, as it provides a choice of location for the children to play in. Outside spaces allows them to blow of some steam, giving them a change of environment within a school day. To overcome design problems, some structural walls, windows and doors will be removed/ moved and partitions will be added so that the space can be utilised properly for a school. Disabled access will be built into the space, with lifts providing access to all areas of the building. My brief has been inspired by Temple Grandin’s Film “Thinking in pictures”. This gave me an insight into how people with autism learn, and the lack of help within normal schools for those with autism. It showed just how isolated someone with autism can be, yet how much hiddden potentially they often have in a specialist area.



The Film: Temple Grandin Temple Grandin is a 2010 biographic film. It’s a film that dramatizes the life of Temple Grandin an autistic woman who overcame the limitations imposed on her by her condition to become a Ph.D. and an expert in the field of animal husbandry. The film was direct by Mick Jackson, a british director born in Essex, who has also directed a number of other well known films such as ‘The Bodyguard’ and ‘LA Story’. The film was based on the books ‘Emergence’ and ‘Thinking in Pictures’ by Temple Grandin herself and Margaret Scariano. Temple Granding was played by Claire Danes. Mick Jackson knew early on that Danes was his first choice to portray Grandin, believing that Danes’ seriousness and dedication would help her to capture Grandin’s mercurial mental and emotional shifts without veering the film into disease-of-the-week melodrama. The idea for this biopic of Temple “My name is Temple Grandin originated with its Grandin. I’m not like other executive producer Emily GersonSaines, a successful talent agent people. I think in pictures and I and a co-founder of the nonprofit connect them” Autism Coalition for Research and Temple Grandin Education (now part of Autism Speaks). In the mid-1990s, Emily Gerson-Saines was a vice-president at the William Morris Agency when her 2-year-old son was diagnosed with autism. Soon afterwards She learned about Temple Grandin, when her mother told her about seeing Grandin’s book ‘Thinking in Pictures’. Reading about Temple Grandin renewed Gerson-Saines’ energy, motivation and spirit in coping with her son’s condition. In an interview Gerson-Saines’ stated, “Temple’s story brought me hope and her mother’s story gave me direction and purpose. Parents of a child with autism everywhere need to hear it, functionally and spiritually. I knew this story had to be told and given my access as a talent representative in the entertainment industry, I felt it was my responsibility to make that happen” Temple Grandin met with Emily and granted her permission to make the film, but the endeavor first launched in the late 1990’s and would take more than 20 yeard to come to life. Filming began in in October 2008 at Austin Studios in Austin, Texas.


“Autism gave her a vision, She gave it a voice”

Mary Temple Grandin Born Auugust 29, 1947 in Boston, Massachusetts, to Eustacia Cutler and Richard Grandin. In 1951 at the age of four, she was diagnosed with autism, however previously she was labeled with brain damage and placed in a structured nursery school due to her speak development display. Temple Grandin did not speak until she was 3 and a half years old. Grandin has previously stated that junior high and high school were the most unpleasant times of her life due to her poor conversational skills. After she graduated in 1966 from Hampshire Country School, a boarding school for gifted children in Rindge, New Hampshire, Grandin went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Franklin Pierce College in 1970, a master’s degree in animal science from Arizona State University in 1975, and a doctoral degree in animal science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1989. Temple Grandin is a prominent and widely cited proponent of the rights of people with autism and of animal welfare. She has lectured widely about her first-hand experiences of the anxiety of feeling threatened by everything in her surroundings, and of being dismissed and feared, which motivates her work in humane livestock handling processes. She studied the behavior of cattle, how they react to ranchers, movements, objects and light. Grandin went on to adapt and re design many slaughter houses within America. Her design included curved corrals, intended to reduce stress, panic and injury in animals being led to slaughter, this design went on to win an award from PETA. Today, despite having autism she is a professor at Colorado State University and well-known speaker on autism and animal handling. “I can remember the fustration of not being able to talk, I knew what I wanted to say, but I could not get the words out, so I would just SCREAM” Mary Temple Grandin

“I am different, not less” Mary Temple Grandin


Timeline of Autism

The actual establishment movement therapy, began with future ‘American Dance Therapy Association’ founder Marian Chace.

1908 1st used by Psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler to describe a schizophrenic patient, who had withdrawn into his own world.


Austrian paediatrician Hans Asperger started to study children. At the same time the American child psychiatrist leo Kanner was studying 11 children all showing signs of autism.


1943 Autism first described as a condition. Leo Kanner describes autism as a distinct condition in his paper ‘Autistic disturbances of affective contact’. This paper shows his studies findings.

Austrian paediatrician Hans Asperger published his findings. He found a ‘milder’ form of autism, a condition later known as ‘Asperger syndrome’.


1950’s After Kanner and Asperger’s findings were published, people became fascinated with the conditon, which led to some illuminating research throughout the 50’s. A key researcher was Dr. Gerhard Bosch (psychiatrist).

Psychologist Bruno Bettelheim studied the effect of three therapy sessions with children who he called autistic. He claimed that the problem in the children was due to coldness of their mothers. This Popularizes the theory “refrigerator mothers, which had previously be mentioned in the 1940’s by Kanner.


1962 A group of parents came together to start a charity, later to be called ‘The National Autistic Society’. It was the first charity of its kind. Initially called ‘The Society for Psychotic Children’, the group soon opted for the more palatable ‘The Society for Autistic Children’, because of the negative associations of the word ‘psychotic’.

First NAS logo was designed by a parent member of the Executive Committee, Gerald Gasson, and used the symbol of a puzzle piece.


1964 Bernard Rimland, a psychologist and parent of a child with autism disagreed with Bettelheim. He did not agree that the cause of his son’s autism was due to either his or his wife’s parenting skills. He published a book, ‘Infantile Autism: The Syndrome and Its Implications for a Neural Theory of Behavior’ which showed that autism was infact a neurological dissorder, this was later accredited by Kanner.

First NAS school opened, called ‘The Society School for Autistic Children’, later renamed ‘Sybil Elgar School’ (named after teacher)


Temple Grandin Invented her squeeze machine


The first systematic study of twins with autism is published by Dr Susan Folstein and Professor Michael Rutter. The study looked at 21 pairs of British twins (11 pairs of identical twins and 10 pairs of non-identical twins), where at least one of the twins was diagnosed as having autism. In the non-identical pairs of twins, none of the co-twins were diagnosed with autism, whereas in the identical twins, four were diagnosed with autism. This established a genetic

First 3 day autism conference, which took place in Pontins Wick Ferry Holiday in Christchurch, Dorset.


1974 Somerset Court opens, a residential community that provides continued residential care and support as well as educational support and training to students leaving Sybil Elgar School.

Rebound therapy introduced in the UK. It is therapy which uses trampolines to provide opportunities for movement, therapeutic exercise and recreation for people across the whole spectrum of special needs.


link within autism.



The Camberwell study by Lorna Wing and Judith Gould’s, introduced the concept of the ‘autistic spectrum’, broadening the definition of autism considerably.

The third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) recognises ‘autism spectrum disorder’; the condition is also officially separated from childhood schizophrenia.


1982 The charity changed its name from The Society for Autistic Children to The National Autistic Society (NAS).

The film Rain Man is released. The Academy Award winning drama starring Dustin Hoffman is said to have heavily influenced public perceptions of autism. In the film, Dustin Hoffman plays Raymond Babbitt, an adult with autism who has been institutionalised for most of his life. Credited with improving public awareness of the failure of society to accommodate the needs of people with autism.


The fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) recognises Asperger syndrome as a separate disorder from autism.

1992 Autism Accreditation launched The National Autistic Society and a network of affiliated local societies launch a quality assurance programme. Our Autism Accreditation programme provides an autism-specific quality assurance programme for hundreds of organisations globally.

Welsh NAS head office opened in Cardiff.


1995 The EarlyBird programme is started. It is for parents whose child received a diagnosis of autism and is of pre-school age. Its aim is to support parents in the period between diagnosis and school placement. Prospects opens. It is NAS’ employment and training service for people with autism who wish to work. It helps people find and keep a job. They also give advice, support and training to employers. Between 1995 and 2003, Prospects helped find 192 jobs for people with autism. Since 2005, they have averaged around 50 new jobs a year.


Temple Grandin met with Emily and granted her permission to make the film.

1997 Autism Helpline opens in order to answer the increasing number of calls and enquiries the organisation was receiving. Today, it offers impartial, confidential i nformation, advice and support to around 62,000 families every year.


At the same time, the Lancet published Andrew Wakefield’s research claiming to show a link between the MMR vaccine and autism and bowel disease. The research is later discredited.


1999 The Autism Research Centre (ARC) is founded. Bringing together scientists working on autism at the University of Cambridge. It also works with other universities and clinical and voluntary sector services, and is partnered with the NAS. It is part of the School of Clinical Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Autism (APPGA) is formed. It’s a formal cross-party backbench group of MPs and Peers interested in autism. Its role is to campaign in Parliament for greater awareness of autism and Asperger syndrome.


2002 The UK Department for Education publishes ‘Autistic spectrum disorders: good practice guidance’. The document aimed to help schools, education services and local authorities in supporting children with autism.

2005 First ever Autistic Pride Day. It is an Aspies for Freedom initiative to celebrate people on the autism spectrum. It aims to educate the general public about autism and dispel the idea that autism and Asperger syndrome are always ‘disabilities’.

The United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared the 2nd April as World Autism Awareness Day. The initiative was announced to highlight the need to improve the lives of children and adults with autism and help them lead full and meaningful lives.


2009 The Autism Act passed, becoming the first ever disability-specific law in England, after campaigning by the NAS. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 110 children have autism spectrum disorders, up from 1 in 150 in 2007, though the CDC notes that the increase stems at least in part from improved screening and diagnostic techniques.

The Government published its plan to make sure that adults with autism get the help that they need, committed to in the Autism Act 2009. The Government set out five key messages in the strategy; Understanding autism, diagnosis, help available, jobs, helping local councils.

2010 ‘Temple Grandin’ Film released Febuary 2nd

2013 The DSM-5 folds all subcategories of the condition into one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Asperger’s Syndrome is no longer considered a separate condition. ASD is defined by two categories: 1) Impaired social communication and/or interaction. 2) Restricted and/or repetitive behaviours.


Autism What is Autism?

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.

Triad of Impairments: • • •

Difficulty with social communication Difficulty with social interaction Difficulty with social imagination.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD):

Autism includes a spectrum of conditions, which means that while all people share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support. People with autism may also experience over or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours. ASD can be seen and diagnosed in children as young as 3 years old.

“For people with autistic spectrum disorders, ‘body language’ can appear just as foreign as if people were speaking ancient Greek.”

1 in 1 0 0 p e o p le a re a u t is t ic (1%)

3 /4 o f p e o p le w it h A S D b e in g boys 16

“Socialising doesn’t come naturally we have to learn it.”

700,000 the UK a in lone

Au t is m c o s t s a f a m il y ~ £ 4 3 ,0 0 0 a ye a r

Asperger Syndrome:

A ‘milder’ form of autism, these people often are of average or above average intelligence. They have fewer problems with speech due to the preservation of their cognative and linguistic development. However, they may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language, they may also have difficulties understanding some of the rules governing social interaction. Also within Asperger’s patient physical clumsiness and atypical (peculiar or odd) use of language are frequently reported.

Symptoms of Autism Key:

Sleep Deficits



Social Communication Deficits




Core Clinical Features Mood

Associated Neurological Symptoms



Language Disability

Repetitive Behaviors

Associated Physical Symptoms



Tantrums Self Injury


Immune Dysfunction


GI Disorders


Sensory Disorders


Characteristics of Autism Social Development

• • • • • •

Don’t respond to own name Less eye contact Don’t point at things Don’t form friendships easily/well Less attachment - lonely Don’t recognize facial expressions and emotions • Jokes and sarcasm are not understood • Resistant to being cuddled • Appears to be insensitive



• • • • •

• • • •

Do not develop natural speech Delayed onset of babbling Diminished responses Repeatition of other words Enjoy some imaginative play but prefer to act out the same scenes each time. Developing symbold into language hyperactivity Common phrases misunderstood Not easy to express feelings and emotions

Repetitive Behaviour

• • • •

No concept of danger Change must be prepared for Sensory sensitivity (light, sound etc.) Compulsice behaviour - arranging objects in lines or stacks. • Self-injury - eye poking, hand biting • repetative mtions - hand flapping, making sounds

T H E 7 S E N S E S

How Senses Work? Ayres (1979, in Smith Myles et al, 2000) defined sensory integration as ‘the organisation of sensation for use’. It involves turning sensation into perception. Our central nervous system (brain) processes all the sensory information we receive and helps us to organise, prioritise and understand the information. We then respond through thoughts, feelings, motor responses (behaviour) or a combination of these. We have receptors all over our bodies that pick up sensory information, or ‘stimuli’. Our hands and feet contain the most receptors. Most of the time, we process sensory information automatically, without needing to think about it much. People with sensory integration difficulties - including many people with an ASD - have difficulty processing everyday sensory information. The sensory systems can be broken down into six areas. These can be divided into two main areas: hyper and hypo sensitivity. However, it is important to remember that the difficulties/differences may for some individuals fall into both areas.

Hyper Sensitive:

Extreme physical sensitivity to particar substances or conditions.

Hypo Sensitive:

Less than normal sensitivity to foreign agents or conditions.


“If I get sensory overload then I just shut down; you get what’s known as fragmentation... it’s weird, like being tuned into 40 TV channels.”

Sight Situated in the retina of the eye and activated by light, our sight helps us to detect images within an environment, the brain must process all this visual information turning the objects into information by stimulation of the sesory receptors in the eye that then link to the optic nerve sending messages to the brain turning the infomation into what we can see.

However for those with an ASD may experience the following differences: HYPO:

• • • • •

Objects appear quite dark, or lose some of their features. Central vision is blurred but peripheral vision quite sharp. A central object is magnified but things on the periphery are blurred. Poor depth perception – problems with throwing and catching; clumsiness.

HYPER: • Distorted vision: objects and bright lights can appear to jump around. • Images may fragment. • Easier and more pleasurable to focus on a detail rather than the whole object. • Contrast - black letters on white paper can be hard to read. • Glare can act as a barrier, making it hard to remain focused • Light sensitivity


Sound The sound (auditory) system is situated in the inner ear, this informs us about sounds in the environment. This is the most commonly recognised form of sensory impairment. Hearing impairments can affect someone’s ability to communicate and possibly also their balance. People with an ASD may experience the following differences: HYPO: • May only hear sounds in one ear, the other ear having only partial hearing or none at all. • May not acknowledge particular sounds. • Might enjoy crowded, noisy places or bang doors and objects. HYPER: • Noise can be magnified and sounds become distorted and muddled. • Particularly sensitive to sound and can, for example hear conversations in the distance. • Inability to cut out sounds – notably background noise, which often leads to difficulties concentrating. This is a key issue at our sight which will need to be looked at in the design process.


“Do you hear noise in your head? It pounds and screeches. Like a train rumbling through your ears.” Powell, J. (in Gillingham, G. 1995), page 41

Touch The touch (tactile) system is situated on the skin, the largest organ of the body, it relates to touch, type of pressure, level of pain and helps us distinguish temperature (hot and cold). Touch is a significant component to social development. It helps us to asses the environment we are in, enabling us to react accordingly.

People with an ASD may experience the following differences:

Adaption of Temple Grandin’s Squeeze Machine providing hugs

“Every time I am touched it hurts; it feels like fire running through my body.” (in Gillingham, G. 1995), page 3

HYPO: • Holds others tightly - needs to do so before there is a sensation of having applied any pressure (squeeze machine) • Has a high pain threshold - temperature/ pain • May self-harm. • Enjoys heavy objects (eg, weighted blankets) on top of them. HYPER: • Touch can be painful and uncomfortable; they may often withdraw from being touched and this can affect their relationships with others. • Dislikes having anything on hands or feet. • Difficulties brushing and washing hair because head is sensitive. • Only likes certain types of clothing or textures.


Taste The taste (gustatory) system is processed through chemical receptors in the tongue it tells us about different tastes - sweet, sour, bitter, salty and spicy. Individuals will often have restricted diets as a result of their taste buds being extra sensitive. People with an ASD may experience the following differences: HYPO: • Likes very spicy foods. • Eats everything - soil, grass, Play-dough. This is known as pica. HYPER: • Finds some flavours and foods too strong and overpowering because of very sensitive taste buds. Has a restricted diet. • Certain textures cause discomfort; some children will only eat smooth foods like mashed potatoes or ice-cream.


Smell The smell (olfactory) system is processed through chemical receptors in the nose, this tells us about smells in our immediate environment. Smell is a sense that is often neglected and forgotten about. It is, however, the first sense we rely upon.

People with an ASD may experience the following differences: HYPO: • Some people have no sense of smell and fail to notice extreme odours (this can include their own body odour). • Some people may lick things to get a better sense of what they are. HYPER: • Smells can be intense and overpowering. This can cause toileting problems. • Dislikes people with distinctive perfumes, shampoos, etc.

“Smells like dogs, cats, deodorant and aftershave lotion are so strong to me I can’t stand it, and perfume drives me nuts.” (in Gillingham, G. 1995), page 60


Balance The balance (vestibular) system is situated in the inner ear, this provides information on where our body is in space and its speed, direction and movement, all in relation to the pull of gravity. It is fundamental in helping us to keep our balance and posture. People with an ASD may experience the following differences: HYPO: • A need to rock, swing or spin to get some sensory input. HYPER: • Difficulties with activities like sport, where we need to control our movements. • Difficulties stopping quickly or during an activity. • Car sickness. • Difficulties with activities where the head is not upright or feet are off the ground.

UK’s first and only accredited learn to cycle programme, teaching dynamic balance.


Body Awareness The body awareness (proprioception) system is situated in the muscles and joints, our body awareness system tells us where our bodies are in space, and how different body parts are moving.

People with an ASD may experience the following differences: HYPO: • Proximity - Stands too close to others, because they cannot judge personal space. • Hard to navigate rooms and avoid obstructions. • May bump into people. HYPER: • Difficulties with fine motor skills: manipulating small objects like buttons and tying shoe laces. • Moves whole body to look at something.

“Smells like dogs, cats, deodorant and aftershave lotion are so strong to me I can’t stand it, and perfume drives me nuts.” (in Gillingham, G. 1995), page 60


Motion Therapy

What is it? Founded in America in the 1960’s. Motion Therapy is a movement-based therapeutic technique that aids in the release of expressions or feelings and aids in promoting feeling and awareness. Western motion therapies generally developed out of the realm of dance. Many of these movement approaches were created by former dancers or choreographers who were searching for a way to prevent injury, attempting to recover from an injury, or who were curious about the effects of new ways of moving. Some movement therapies arose out of the fields of physical therapy, psychology, and bodywork. Other movement therapies were developed as way to treat an incurable disease or condition. Motion theraphy has a unique facility for understanding, reflecting, and expanding nonverbal expressions, helping those with autism to improve socialization and communication, build body awareness, and can directly affect motor deficits. This is done by utilizing a technique called “mirroring” that involves reflecting the autistic individual’s body rhythms, movement patterns, and vocalizations, the motion therapist can assist the individual in the beginning. As they become more aware they are able to self develop. Thosewith autism learn to become aware of other people. Recognizing and responding to another, increasing eye contact, participating in shared experiences and engaging in shared focus, breaking through isolation, decreasing the interpersonal distance that is part of the social isolation, and developing trust are all treatment goals in motion therapy with individuals con the autism spectrum.


“Motion therapy can serve both as a bridge for contact and provide a vehicle for communication with individuals with autism.”

Motion Therapy “Music is not only processed in a different area of the brain, but that music combined with movement and that also incorporates repetitive rocking motion requiring a person to continually find and refind their balance stimulates areas of the brain where learning receptors are located.”

Techniques of Motion Therapy: • •

Physiological repatterning: The appraisal of cognitive motor functional defects related to poor use of the musculoskeletal system. The therapist addresses the perceptual, neurological and musculoskeletal defects by studying the relationship of the biomechanical structures with the environment and the environmental tasks, and employs the appropriate corrective measures.

Movement analysis and performance: The assessment of a movement’s “quality” as it relates to a particular task, with the intent of optimising the movement’s efficiency in a defined space.

Psychological and emotional expression: The observation of an individual’s nonverbal interactions with him or herself and others.

Health maintenance and improvement: The use of primarily noncardiovascular exercises to reduce stress and enhance the immune system, thereby bettering the patient’s overall health and quality of life.

Dance motion therapy: The therapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration of the individual, based on the empirically supported premise that the body, mind and spirit are interconnected.

Mary Temple Grandin


Rebound Therapy Therapeutic Effects On Movement: Movement can be promoted at different stages of the bounce. The most active movement takes place at the top of the bounce where acceleration of the body equals the downthrust of gravity = “gravity-free” zone. A tiny body movement can produce a large effect with a correctly applied bounce. Momentum and rhythm can be added to movement to help teach new movement skills. Relaxation is easily obtained by creating a small sized bounce, and good postioning, This helps calm autistic people, and can be a good way of teaching relaxation.

On Perception: Body image, body part awareness and positional sense are increased through tactile and joint sensation. Enhanced perception of body image, spatial awareness combined with rhythm, and movement itself, develops co-ordination. The experience of movement into space (Bounce) with the return to stability (landing), while remaining in control, provides an enriched learning experience, for the motor-impaired person.

Communication: Due to cardio-respiratory effects, vocalisation is increased - with exclamations and gasps. As well as this eye contact and concentration are enhanced by the “focus effect”.


What is it? “Rebound Therapy” was founded by E.G. Anderson, in 1969. He described it as the use of trampolines in therapy. Rebound/trampoline therapy is an intensive 1:1 technique for people with moderate to servere disabilities. Used to promote; movement, balance, an increase or decrease in muscle tone, relaxation, and sensory integration, as well as improving fitness and exercise tolerance. It’s also used to improve communication skills.

Benefits of Rebound Therapy Improves Muscle Tone

Improves Stamina

Improves Communication Increases consideration of others

Developed Self-image

Increses Reaction Speed

Freedom of movement

Improves Social Awareness Improves Body awareness

Increses Patience Fun and Enjoyable Improves Co-ordination

Improves Numeracy

Internal organ massage

Increases Height and depth perception Self-confidence

Incresed Balance

Increseses Trust and confidence in Coach/Assistant

Improves Spatial Awareness

Improved bowel function

Stimulation of digestive system

Clears toxins from the body


Improves Eye contact Sense of achievement Promotes Relaxation Improves Colour recognition



Building History Background and Analysis: This section of the report focuses on the analysis of the former Leeds Public Library and Public Baths, the surrounding area and relevant observation. This analysis will provide the clarity and guidance to inform the design processes and the decision making stages, reliant on supporting the proposed brief.

The Building: The Old Public library and baths on York Road, is a Grade II listed building designed by H.A. Chapman for Leeds City Council and built in 1904 from Ashlar and brick with English garden wall bonds and grauated welsh slate roof tiles. The Building was officialy opened on 4th April 1905 by the Lord Major, Robert Armitage J.P. However the building itself was not listed until 1987, by this point it was no longer in use. The building itself is in the style of Neo-Baroque (revival). It possesed many key fetaures that still need to be preserved today. These include; The large clock on the Eastern end of the building, The Terazzo (mosaic) floor with the owl of Leeds, The Burmantoft tiles which are a key part of Leed’s industrial history, as well as the names and shields carved into the front facade of the building. Originally the building had an attachment at 90 degrees to the eatern end which housed the baths. However this was removed after there closure in the 1970’s. The building has layed derelict sonce 1995 due planning permision for a change of use not being granted.


Previous Use: Public Baths Public baths originated from a communal need for cleanliness at a time when most people did not have access to private bathing facilities. The term public is not completely accurate, as some types of public baths are restricted depending on membership, gender, religious affiliation, or other reasons. The earliest public baths are found in the ruins in of the Indus Valley Civilization. A Bronze Age civilization extending from what today is northeast Afghanistan to Pakistan and northwest India. They were 1 of 3 early civilisations of the Old World, and of the three the most widespread. In the 6th Century BC public baths began to appear in Greece. Men and women washed in basins near places of exercise, physical and intellectual these where known as baths. Later gymnasia had indoor basins set overhead, the open maws of marble lions offering showers, and circular pools with tiers of steps for lounging. Bathing was ritualized, becoming an art. Cleansing sands, hot water, hot air in dark vaulted “vapor baths,” a cooling plunge, and a rubdown with aromatic oils was all present within Greek baths.

Many baths were privatised which meant only the upper class where able to use them. Private baths were advertised as having healing qualities and being able to cure people of diabetes, gout and all skin diseases, amongst others. However, on 19 November 1844, it was decided that the working class members of society should have the opportunity to access baths, in an attempt to address the health problems of the public. Within Leeds and its surround suburbs there where around 9 Baths; York Road, Kirkstall Baths, Bramley Baths, Armley Baths, Holbeck Baths, Union Street Baths (now Millgarth Police Station), Roundhay Baths (outdoors), ‘lympics, and Cookridge Street Baths. York Road Baths shut its doors in April 1969 because of the deterioration of its roof and by 1979 most of the public baths had closed in Leeds and the surounding suburbs. The York Road Baths were dimolished at the end of the 1960’s.

In the 11th and 12th centuries returning crusaders, who had enjoyed warm baths in the Middle East re-introduce Roman styled public baths on a limited scale. These, however, rapidly degenerated into brothels or at least the reputation as such and were closed down at various times. Baths and wash houses available for public use in Britain were first established in Liverpool in 1828. With the first known warm fresh-water public wash-house being opened in May 1842, also in Liverpool. The popularity of wash-houses was spurred by the newspaper interest in Kitty Wilkinson, an Irish immigrant “wife of a labourer” who became known as the Saint of the Slums. In 1832, during a cholera epidemic, Wilkinson took the initiative to offer the use of her house and yard to neighbours to wash their clothes, at a charge of a penny per week, and showed them how to use a chloride of lime (bleach) to get them clean. In 1842 Wilkinson was appointed baths superintendent.

Fig. 1


Previous Use: Public Library The history of libraries began with the first efforts to organize collections of documents. The first libraries consisted of archives of the earliest form of writing, the clay tablets in cuneiform script discovered in temple rooms in Sumer, some dating back to 2600 BC. Things were much the same in the government and temple records on papyrus of Ancient Egypt. Private or personal libraries made up of written books (as opposed to the state or institutional records kept in archives) appeared in classical Greece in the 5th century BC. In the 18th century and 19th century, the need for books and general education was apparent among social classes, due to the start of the Industrial Revolution. This meant there was a rise in subscription libraries intended for the use of tradesmen. One of these librarys was, Artizans’ library established in Birmingham in 1799, a library of general literature. The entrance fee was 3 shillings, and the subscription was 1 shilling 6 pence per quarter. By the mid-19th century, England could claim 274 subscription libraries and Scotland, 266. The foundation of the modern public library system in Britain is the Public Libraries Act, 1850. The Act first gave local boroughs the power to establish free public libraries and was the first legislative step toward the creation of a perminant national institution that provides universal free access to information and literature. The first of such kind was opened in ‘The Hall of Science’ in Manchester, 1852 by Sir John Potter, it was a rate-support public lending and reference library under the ‘Free Library Act’. In 1888 the County Council was established, this made it possible for county libraries to be developed. Normally within a county there was a large central library in a major town, with smaller branch libraries in other smaller towns and a mobile library service covering rural areas. The modern public library grew at a great pace at the end of the 19th century. Philanthropists and businessmen, including John Passmore Edwards, Henry Tate and Andrew Carnegie, helped to fund the establishment of large numbers of public libraries for the masses.


In the last decade there has been a rapid decline in the use of Public Libraries due to the use of technology and the Internet. There were 4,612 British Public Libraries in 2010, Now there are only 4,203 British Public Libraries that remain open. Within Leeds and its surrounding suburbs there are currently 35 Public Libraries. The Oldest of which is ‘The Leeds Library’ on Commercial Street. Founded in 1768 as a proprietary subscription library, it is now the oldest surviving example of this sort of library within the British Isles. The Old Leeds Library on York Road, which was opened in 1904 was a key building within the City of Leeds. It’s lending department was opened in 1904 by the Lady Mayoress Mrs A Currer Briggs. It consisted of; a newsroom, Ladies reading room, Principal Vestibule, Boys’ Library and reading room, Lecture hall, Librarian Retiring Room and staff area. The library closed on 31st August 1940 and was then occupied by the Social Welfare Department until 1948. Unfortunatly due to a lack of upkeep on the building by the county council the building rapidly deteriorated and by 1983 it was closed. The library service are now based in the Richmond Hill.

Histroy of The Site

1900’s 1890’s

This map of the 1890’s shows the site and surrounding area prior to the Public Library and Baths being errected. Originally the site was a row of houses, along ‘All Staints Avenue’. The surrounding area was very residential, due to the Burmantofts Pottery and the former Burtons textile factory being situated there, providing jobs for the local community. Transport within Leeds was good, due to the tram system which ran directly down York Road, from the City Centre.

The Tram system was opened in 1891 as horse drawn trams. However by 1901 they had been electrified. There were several lines running between the city centre other suburbs. Leeds contiued to use trams until 1959.


By 1904 the Public Library and Baths had been constructed (shown in both the maps above), which meant the removal of the houses in the current location and it’s surrounding.




By the 1980’s the A64 had been built along York Road, providing easy access to the East and the city centre, making this a key road out of Leeds. This road still remains today (shown below). By the 1980’s the public baths had closed, which led to the dereliction of the building that ran at 90 degrees to the Library on its eastern end. This can be seen between the 1960’s and 19080’s maps as half the building disappears. By 1983 the library had also completely closed with no public or private use. It still remains this way today. Between the 1960’s and 1980’s there is shown to have been a huge amount of development within the York Road area with many houses being built in Burmantoft.



Future Development Within the surrounding area of York Road/ Grime’s Dyke the council have a proposal to build 328 houses, of which 112 are under construction, while 216 are not started. This area has a capacity of 369 houses.

After the buildings closured in 1983, it remained in the hands of Leeds City Council, and by 1995 the building layed derelict. In 2005 the site was bought by a Private Developer, ‘Jump Advertising’ inorder to convert the site into offices, this was never taken forward as planning permission was never granted.

In 2008 the building was listed for auction, however it was never sold. The building is still to this day owned by ‘Jump Advertising’. Since 2008 there has been no further development plans put in place. Work has been done over the years to keep the building watertight, despite there being no roof. They have also place a metal fence around the perimeter, reducing the human risk of the building collapsing.

This is one of the areas along York Road where these houses will be constructed.


Research Summary When research the Library and Baths on York Road, I found out some interesting information on the surrouning area, its history and the people that use to visit the library and baths. I was able to see how the area changed over time, going from an indutrial area, where the Burmantoft Factory use to be, to a much more residential area. My research into autism taught me a lot about the characteristics of a person with autism. I was able to learn about the different varieties of autism across the spectrum. It showed me that there is no one type of autism or reaction. it cannot be pinned down specifically. My research into the 7 scenses showed me the variation in reactions that can be shown by people with autism, it showed me that some people have heightened scences whilst others are less effected than normal. My research into motion and rebound therapy, helped me to understand exactly how they both work and the possitive effects it can have on people with autism.



Genius Loci The images to the left/below express and reflect the genius loci of the site. Looking back on the site I found that many of the local people had very fond memories of visiting the Site. The allocated site for this project was once Leeds pubic library and baths, located on York Road. This area was once an extremely popular area for the community of Harehills, however now it is very diserted and lost amoungst its surroundings. On my visit to the site I found the place rather eerie and haunting, due to all the lost memories surrounding the building. It felt forgotten, which was also expressed dissary that the building itself was in. Although the importance of the building is apparent, it feels that there is no purpose for its location, the contrast between my building and its surroundings is extremely diverse, with many of them being extremely modern, showing that time has changed around the site but the building itself has remain very much the same. The vast contrast between the sirenity of my building, its past use as a public library and bath and the main road that now runs outside had a huge impact on me and it is what inspired my Site Combine.

Safe Haven The walls are cracked, forgotten, There’s chaos all around. Step through the open doorway, Escape from all the sound. 42


Leeds is a city in the North of English, in the county of Yorkshire, marked on the map above in red. On the south bank of the River Aire, shown on the map to the left. Leeds is city of about 450,000 people in a metropolitan borough of 760,000, it is one of the eight largest English cities outside London. Leeds is the largest urban centre in the county of West Yorkshire and is often thought of as the “capital” of Yorkshire. My site, Leeds’ old public library and baths is situated on the A64 to the east of Leeds city centre. In the inner-city area of Harehills. The old public library and baths is accessed from a foot and cycle path that runs directly outside the building. The building lies on a main transport route link with the East, conecting Leeds, York and Scarborough.


Site Analysis


Scale 1:1250 Key:


Traffic/ Direction Pedestrians/ Cyclists

Wind Direction

Bus Stops


Car Park

Circulation and Access The accessability and circulation within the site needs to be considered and analysed, to understand the flow and movement around the building. Vehicular, pedestrian and cycle networks need to be considered, as well as parking and drop off sites. There are good transport links within the area, with the major road the connect Leeds City Centre with towns in the East such as York and Scarborough, A64(M) running directly outside my site. Not only this there are a number of minor roads within the area connecting the inner-city suburbs to Leeds via York Road.


Motorway (M64)

Duel Carriageway (A64)

Minor Roads (B)

There are a number of bus routes from the city centre that stop along York Road, some of these include; 40 (Seacroft), 19/19A (Garford), and 56 (Whinmoor). These bus stops are only a short walk to site, ideal for visitors. However within the area there are no other forms of public transport. There is also very limited parking within the area (shown in brown), therefore this need to be considered within the design process. Maybe there should only be a drop off location and no parking. Running along the front of the site is a foot and cycle path that runs all the way along the A64(M), providing a safer place for people to walk and cycle around the building. There is very limited emergency access. They would either have to access from the main road (York Road) or from Cross Aysgarth Mount. This must also be considered in the design process, due to health and safety within a school environment.

Key: Vehical Circulation Pedestrian Circulation Parking


Views and Vistas

Bus Stop, with many local routes passing.

Residential Houses opposite my site.

Commercial outlet next to my site.

Leeds’ Old Public Library and remaining Public Baths.

A64(M) Connects Leeds and the East of England.

Scale 1:1250 Eastern end of building, where the baths used to join at 90 degress.

Land on the western end of my building, between office block and site. Small Local Primary School


Graffiti on the local recreation centre behind the Library.


Noise Pollution Due to the location of the building being within close proximity to the main transport route, A64(M) which runs along York Road (directly outside the front of the site) a high level of noise is supplied by the constant flow of traffic. This noise level is heightened due to the wind direction coming from the NE which means it travels across the main road towards the building. Also the surrounding minor roads adds to the noise level coming from traffic. The building is located withing a residential area of Leeds called Harehill (inner city suburb). Howver there are a number of retail spaces surrounding the site. The noise from shoppers, adds to the atmosphere of the area, making the area feel lived in. There are also many offices around the building creating sufficient noise levels, especially during certain times of the working day. With the site being positioned close to ‘All Saints Church’, the noise of the church bells chimming can be clearly heard. The sounds of children playing at the near by Primary School can be heard due to the proximity of the school to my building. The building itself has no surrounding elements that would soften the sounds, such as woodland and tall buildings. It is a very open site, with no surrounding woodland protecting it. The levels of noise pollution effecting my site is especial important to evaluate when designing an autistic school, due to the need for a minimally arrousing site.

Key: Noise Pollution


Environmental Analysis Wind Direction

Due to the very open landscape, there is very little shelter from the north-easterly winds. These blow directly into the front and side facade of the building, this inter will cause a huge amount of weathering on these surfaces.


c ti ire

D ind W NE







Site Orientation

My site is orientated on the east-west axis. With the main entrance to the building at the eastern end of the building, along York Road. The Front facade is on the East-West axis, however it faces due north. The site stands alone, however there is a retail park to the west/south-west of the site.


Sun Path Analysis








My Site faces due North, this means that with the sun rising in the East and setting in the Wes t, the front facade of my building gets very little exposure to natural light. The Sun moves gradually throughout the day, around my building; starting in the Eastern corner, The old public baths, moving through the south, which is the direction in which the rear facade faces, ending up on the southern corner nearest to the commercial offices. The natural light exposure would work well with my brief of designing a school, this is because the sun would rise in the morning as the pupils arrive in the east which could possibly be the entrance to the school. Moving through the south (rear facade) during the school day, providing a lot of natural light into what could be classrooms or an active zone. Setting in the west at the end of the day, which would tie in with school ending at around 3:30/4pm. This natural light should be utalised within my design, possibly opening up the rear facade, creating large full length windows, maimizing the natural light exposure which works so well for autistic children, reducing the amount of artificial light needing to be used. However, this can also cause problems as the glare from the sun, through large windows can be a huge distraction. Also temperature control within rooms is extremely important, large windows can make this very difficult as they not only let out a large amount of heat, but they also attract alot of heat, in some causing a room to heat up.



Shadow Analysis I have created a shadow study of the site by visting the site on York Road on a sunny day and taking various photographs from different angles and views showing the variety of shadows created around the site.

It can been see form the photos that most of the shadows are located at the front of the building for most of the day. This would mean that the exterior and interior space at the front would be rather dark, therefore atifical lights may be required, this would have an impact on the layout of the interior, as aspects of my design may require a large amount of direct light throughout the day. Not only this but the external space at the front of the building also catches the prevailing north-easterly winds which beat against the front and end facades of the building. Where as, as shown by the Sun Path diagramme and the images bellow you are able to see that there would be a large amount of natural light hitting the back of the building throughout the day, due to it facing south. The images bellow where taken at my site at different times of the day and so show the different shadows created on the building facades and its surrounding site.



Front Facade

The buildings facade is very unique in comparison to the other architecture in the area. The facade is in the style of Neo-barque architecture, with an opulant use of ornamentation and its arched windows. It is a very regal facade, showing that once this building would have been a key architectual element within Leeds.

The original clock still remains today.

Original copper drain pipe, showing weathering as it has gone green. Stone carved Public Baths Entrance sign located in door frame

My main entrance into the building, access from York Road. Originally this was the entrance into the Public Baths.

Stone carved ornamentation placed in a recese above windows.

More stone carved ornamentation around door ways and windows.


Rear Facade Many of the Welsh Slate roof tiles have been removed or damaged, now there is very little roof left.

The back facade of this building is extremely simiple, as at the time it was built (1904), they only decorated the front of buildings as this was prsummed to be the only part seen by the public. There was no ornamentation or ornate windows. It was kept to a minimum, as this would have been the staff entrance and exit. Now a days the back of the building as been fenced off, to protect the general public from the degrading building. Due to the rear facade not being listed it is possible to build into it, and change the windows, as well as use the space outside and infront of the builing.

The rear of the building is seriously degrading, with many broken windows, shown either side.

The eastern side of the buiding. originally there was another building running at 90 degrees which housed the public baths. This has now gone.


Internal Views: Ground Floor The arched window to the left overlooked the front entrance porch and there is a door to one of the vestibules just beyond it. The counter originally ran between the two arched windows in the centre, making a narrow 'space for public'.

The Lending Library 1906

Ladies’ Reading Room

Lending Library

Stairway to Girls’ Reading Room

News Room


My main entrance into the building. Access from York Road. Orinially this was the entrance into the Public Baths.



The News Room, shown to be in disarray. Green Burmantoft tiles can been seen.

Main Entrance


The Terazzo floor, depicts the Leeds Owl in an intricate mosaic design. The heavy round-arched door to the left is the main entrance to the library from York Road. The door straight ahead leads to one of two vestibules.

Internal Views: 1st Floor Spiral Staircase, which runs from the ground floor up. Found at the back of the building (staff area).

This view looks from, the Boys Reading Room, through the archways to the Girls’ Reading Room.

Boy’s Reading Room Girl’s Reading Room Upper Part of Librarians’ Room

Stairway to Girls’ Reading Room from the ground floor

Split over 2 floors


Cross Section

This cross section shows the location at which I am going to be splitting the building. At the moment there are 4 arch ways along the 1st floor, running between the old Girls’ Reading Room and Boys’ Reading Room. These are just open arch ways now however when this was a working building they would have had doors within the arches.

Lending Library

Directly bellow this, separting the Lending Library and the News room are another set of arches, with doors and windows within the archway. These archways must be preserved for future generations due to this part of the interior being listed. Therefore one option that could be looked at in the design process, is cladding. This can be done so that future geneations can uncover the hidden history at a later stage. One other interior element that is listed and therefore must be preserved for future generations is the green Burmantoft Tile, whch was originally produced across the road from the site. This is featured on a number of the walls throughout the library. This again could be preserved by cladding over the top, protecting it for future generations.

News Room


Cross Section 1:50

Boys’ Readying Room

Structural Section

2nd Floor 2nd Floor

1st Floor

1st Floor Ground Floor

1st Floor

Key: Ground Floor 1st Floor

Ground Floor

Ground Floor

Beam/Floor depth

2nd Floor Stairs

Elevation 1:50

Building Outline

York Road Public Library and Baths, comprises of 3 floors in total. Within the western end of the old library there are 2 floors and a mezzaning, which is where the lending Library was situated (see images on right). Where as in the eastern end, which is the part of the library which I am researching, there are only two floors with the ground floor (News Room) being double height. The stairs which I could use have been shaded blue, these are accessed from York Road, via a secondary entrance into the old library. These stairs provide access to the upper level of my section of the Library (1st Floor). The main Library entrance is located within the other half of the old library building. There is also another staircase (not shown) which provides access to the 1st and 2nd floors of the old public bath building, this is accessed through the old entrance to the baths.

View from mezzanine into Lending Library




Structure: Ground Floor The diagram below shows the structural elements of the Ground Floor at the Old Library. It also indictaes the possible implications of removing structural and non-structural walls. If any structural walls are removed or breached an alternative support would need to be put inplace inorder to bare the load of the 1st floor. A 400mm recess needs to be left on either side to attach an RSJ Beam too. Originally there was another building at 90 degrees to the eastern end of this building, where the Public Baths were housed. This was knocked down in the 1970’s after the baths closure in 1969.

Openings could be made, creating a new entrance at the rear. This area gets the morning sun.

The rear facade can be changed as it is not listed. One element that could be changed are the windows, which would allow more natural light. This is the perfect side to do so as it is in the sun path. It would also improve access to the rear outside space. This non-structural wall could be removed. However due to the historic nature of the building it may be nice to preserve the building as a whole, retaining the contecting walls by claddding.

Exhisting stair could be replaced by a lift by removing non-structural wall. Key: Non-structural Walls Structural Walls

Floor Plan 1:50 The front facade of the building is Grade II listed therefore, no of the elements on the facade can be altered or removed, they must be preserved.


This structural wall could be removed or an opening could be made on either of the 2 walls. This would enable access to the main stairs from the large internal room.

The two entrances on York Road, could be removed and access into the building would be from the rear only. Entrance marked by blue bubble.

Structure: 1st Floor Something needs to be placed here inorder to enclose the outside space from the surrounding areas such as the road. This could be in the form of a wall, a building or even a landscaped garden.

The diagram below shows the structural elements of the 1st Floor at the Old Library. It also indictaes the possible implications of removing structural and non-structural walls. If any structural walls are removed or breached an alternative support would need to be put inplace inorder to bare the load of the 1st floor. A 400mm recess needs to be left on either side to attach an RSJ Beam too.

This non-structural wall could be removed. However due to the historic nature of the building it may be nice to preserve the building as a whole, retaining the contecting walls by claddding. This is exacty the same as shown on the ground floor.

All the non-structural walls could be removed, opening up this space into one large landing or transitioning space.

Key: Non-structural Walls Structural Walls

Floor Plan 1:50

Thes non-structural walls could also be removed, opening up the landing area on the 1st floor

The Old Library has a large open space within the middle of the building. This allows for a number of layouts that could be produced. No structural walls will need to be removed unless windows need to be changed allowing, more lightin in (only on rear facade). A number of non-structural walls can be added to seperate up the room.


Analysis Summary

When researching my site I found a number of factors that could influence my design. A key factor was the A64 which runs directly outside my site, along York Road. The noise pollution from this would have to be considered, as this is extremely important for the design of an autistic school. My research into the sunpath has also given me an idea of the amount and direction of natural light that would be coming into the building. It has helped me to think about the layout of my building dependant on the amount of light needed for each use. My research into the buildings structure and layout has enable me to make an informed decison on changing the current layout. It has allowed me to be able to see where the structural and non-structural walls run within the building, and where the windows and staircases lie, helping with room layouts. My research into the buildings listed status and historic features has helped will help with the design of the space, it has shown that the front facade is listed therefore cannot be change, where as the back facade has no listing and therefore can be alter with in reason. I have also research interior features, finding out that some of them are listed, such as the Burmantoft tiles. This needs to be considered in the design stage as they would need to be retained but not neccesarily restored.



Case Study: West Oaks: Woodhouse West Oaks, Woodhouse was an excellent example of a school for special needs children. It gave me first-hand insight into the running’s of a special needs school, with a major focus on autistic children. It provided me with information into the autism specrum and teaching methods for autistic children. It is pertinent to my project as it not only gave me extra knowledge and research material into autism in young adults and the way they learn, which I felt was crutial in order to further my design and brief, but it also gave me inspiration and direction for the interior and exterior spaces. The range of interior and exterior spaces is extremely important as it provides ‘choice’ to the children. While the use of soft colours within the interior creates a calm environment, aiding learning.


West Oaks, Woodhouse was built due to aan over subscription at there current school in Boston Spa. West Oaks fellt there were a lack of schools for children with special needs within Leeds. It was built in Woodhouse as according to Leeds council there was a high demand for a school of this nature within the inner city. Woodhouse was also where the council had land available for are school of this natre, where noise, and security are extremely important. The school has been built with the childrens needs in mind. They have created spaces which can be easily changedto suit a specific childs needs. This school has also been built using the same theme as that used within their school in Boston Spa (eg. colour).


LOCATION: West Oaks school is located in the Woodhouse area of Leeds. This is situated in the North-East of Leeds. The school itself is ideally located down Crowther place, a dead-end lane within a residential zone. behind the school you are able to see green open space, creating an idillic countryside feel within the busy City of Leeds. See map on right.

Infront of West oaks is the ‘Grafton learning Facilities’ which is where hospital and home teaching services is located. It provides an education for children and young people who, because of their medical condition, are hospitalised or unable to attend mainstream school due to ill health. Also on the otherside of Crowther Place is IQ Student accomodtion as well as a number of other residential houses.


On arrival it felt a bit like a doctors surgery, due to the small entrancve reception and very large library which seems to a waiting room, as well as the sterile/ clean smell of the place . However this changed throughout the visit, the school itself started to feel like a nolrmal school for all ages., with its coherant them throughout, and school like layout.


West Oaks, Woodhouse doesn’t really fit into its surroundimg because the area is mainly residenial. The surrounding houses are relatively new however are built like a standard house, were as West Oaks is extremely modern.


West Oaks school is easily accessible due to its close proximity to the city centre. There are no main roads in the


area, as it is within a residential zone, therefore it can be relatively hard to find. However within the area the only form of public transport is by taxi. The school itself have buses for the children to catch in the morning from home and in the evening from school, these are provided by the local council for free.

Most pupils arrive by council buses, where they are are met by the teachers. The pupils are not allowed to get on or off the buses until the car engine is turned off and the hazard lights are on, this is to ensure the children’s safety. The teachers on the otherhand, arrive by car to park in the large car park provided. The majority of pupils attend 5 days a week during term time (days a year). However they do also offer summer programmes, and eventually the school would like to allow the local people in to use there facilities, such as the Botcher Court, which is the only one in Leeds.


The school has a capacity of 150 people and 120 staff, however currently they have 41 pupils. There plan is to take 50 people a year for 3 years. In order to gain a place at West Oaks school, the school itslef must be named by the Local Authority in the child’s statement or education health and care plan. West Oaks accepts a wide range of ages; 2-16 all whom have servere special needs. At the moment they are only accepting younger children; key stage one and two. This is beaus they want to grow the echool from the beginning. Although the school only goes to 16, their pupils at 16 are not ready to leave. However, they are looking into where the young adults can go next , however coucil care for adults with special need especially autism is poor.


ACCESS - Entrance and Exits:

There is one main entrance into the school, with also one main electric gate for car access and a side pedestrian gate. Within the building there are 7 other exits and entrances which all lead out from Classrooms/corridors onto the outdoor playareas. The site is very secure with fob access doors and electric gates, stopping pupils to be qable to roam free, providing protection.


At West Oaks School there is a good layout, with long continuos corridors, which is important to those with autism as they are able to see exactly where they are going, there are few threshholds for them to cross. They wanted these to be contious with no doors, however this would have been a safety issue, which lead to them placing fob doors between certain sections. The corridors run down the centre of each floor, with rooms on either side. There are wide stair cases and stairwells situated at the Eastern and South-western ends of the building. the staircase has double handrails, allowing people ranging in height to be able to assess them. They stairwell is closed off reducing the risk of children jumping all falling down the middle. There are also 2 lifts accesssing all floors.


Within the classrooms there is a huge amount of natural light due to the large windows, with many of the class rooms facing South-Wes, therefore are covered by the sun throughout the working day. This is extremely important as “artifical light is not great for those on the spectrum”. However, there is still some need for artifical light within the corridors and to some extent the classrooms. Within these areas non-flicker LED lights have been installed. These are good as they don’t produce a large amount of heat and due to them being non-flicker, they are minimally sensory stimulating.


Light and fresh air are extremely important within a learning environment. A constant flow of fresh air, relaxes the body and helps stimulate the brain. While lighting helps provide an effective learning environment.


Lower Ground Floor: Early Years with access derectly outside into playarea. Ground Floor: Entrance level, with classrooms, active zone and main hall.

The school is split across 4 floors with; Early Learning on the Lower Ground floor. This area is for 3 - 6 year olds, they have there own area within the building with their own hall, where they have lunch as well as direct access out into a covered play area. There are 3 Classrooms on this floor, these classrooms are designed as areas to promote basic play skills, communication and interaction with others. They are taught the school theme in a playful way, such as the current theme ‘Whose footprint is this’ taught through Jack and the Beanstalk (planting beans). On the Ground floor which is where the main entrance into the building is found, there are 4 classrooms for Key Stage 1 + 2, all on the South-West side of the building, gaining most of the natural light. There is also the main hall which is where hole school events, such as lunch and assembly take place. At the far end of the Ground Floor corridor is where the ‘Active Zone’ is located. This has its own section of the building closed off by its own door, helping to define between the sepearte learning ares. It has a small hall way which acts as a transition zone, between the change rooms and the sports hall. Within the sports hall there are very small windows, due to the sports that are played within the room, this means there is a very minimal amount of natural light. The lighting within this rooms was extremely harsh, white light. This is something which should be looked at as this can be a trigger to some.


On entering the building you are led straight into the Library, which is a large open plan spcae. This seemed like a good idea, however on the contrary the open space is very overwhelming, and can distract children when in this location. However within this space there are a number of different seating locations, providing choice to the children. The circular bookshelf chair is a favourite of the children as the confined space, almost hugs them making them feel safe and relaxed in the large open library. On the 1st Floor there are 9 classrooms for Key Stage 1, 2 + 3. These are found on either side of the central corridor. There is a ‘Complex Needs Space’ on the 1st floor, where 2 of these classrooms are located. Tis is a seperate unit off the main corridor, with its own transition space. it is where those that are on the higher end of the autism spectrum or have high end disabilities will be placed, as it is an easier environment for them to be in and less distracting and distressing. Within this area they have there own toilets and a calm room, which means there is no need for them to leave this safe area. There is a capacity for 20 pupils within this area, however no more than 16 would be wanted as a larger number would be crowded and harder to manage. The ratio of adults to children in this area would be 1:1. Within the ‘Complex Needs Space’ they have place ‘Tough’ furniture, this is the trongest furniture known, which cannot be detroyed by pushing or throwing, this is key as many children within this area throw and push things when they are having an episode. Each piece of this furniture costs around £1,000.00.

1st Floor: Key Stage 1, 2 + 3 Classrooms, and the Interactive Zone 2nd Floor: Key Stage 4 + 5 Life Skills area and Computing Suite

On this floor there is also a calm room as well as an ‘interactive zone’.


The ‘Interactive Zone’ is a sensory room, where projectors, project images onto the floor, walls and ceiling producing a sensory stimulating learning environment. The magic mirror which is projected on the wall is sensitive to movement, creating an environent that changes as you change. This room uses ‘Immersive technology’, with its intesive interaction aiding speech therapy, the school curriculm, relaxation and teaches calming skills. It has coloured lights, a soft carpet, cool air and beanbags in soft colours creating a soothing environment. Also on the 1st floor is the ‘Creative zone’ which is where art is taught, this is a form of Therapy. and also teaches many important life skills. It aids the teaching of many other subjects. Similar to this is Music which is an integral part of teaching within the school. Many people with autism respond vey well to music and are able to communicate through it, even when they are unable to communictae in other ways. The 2nd floor is where life skills are taught. It is a key area for Key Stage 5 pupils. On this floor there is a ‘Social skills room’ where they are able to learn how to cook, and clean up after themselves, promoting independance. There is also a computing room where they are taught the national curriculum, providing them with skills for the work environment. The Visiting professions rooom also situated on the 2nd floor, provides them with a versitile area where a number of different types of therapy can be taught; from speech and language therapy, through to music therapy and physio therapy. The 2nd floor is the main relaxation area for the teachers, this is an extremely important area to have for them. They are able to have lunch and work within the lounge and office.


Within the interior they have used calming colours such as creams, blues and greys. These promote learning without being over stimulating. The door ways are segregated from the rest of the room by being painted a dark grey, this defines that it is an opening to be walked through. Within the school they have used different floor materials to define the use of the rooms. Within the corridor blue carpet has been used, while in the class rooms blue viynl has been put in place as it is much more practicle with the types of work that goes on within classrooms. Within the more formal main hall, wood has been used, this means that it can used for a number of different uses. The diffent floor types helps with transition, allowing the children to understanf ther is change. Blinds must be used to reduce the children being distracted by the outside environmemt, these are placed in all the class rooms and also on some of the door window panels. This is because some of the pupils strip when in disstress or have medical reasons therefore they need there dignity preserved. Within the school they have display boards along the corridors and in the classrooms, which is different to The Light House School where they had no displays. Research has been done which states that there should be no displays due to the interior being minimally arrousing. However here they feel that it is important, as in the real work there will displays and clutter. Not everywhere will have ‘clean lines’ which is an important rule within designing for autism.


The views from the windows are not very exciting, due to the site being within a residential area surrounded by houses. However from the classroom windows you are able to see into the childrens play area. Also from the windows at the back of the building, facing East you are able to see a grass field, which is owned by Leeds Art College, this patch of grass remain un-developed.



At West Oaks they use the ‘Essentials’ Curriculum (Chris Quigley 2014) and aspects of ‘EQUALS’ (2014) schemes of work to support their long and medium term planning processes. In terms of subjects they use several pulished schemes inorder to challenge their more able learners. They have a range of curriculums depending on the age level, however the main aim is enabling all to achieve nationally recognised qualifications before they leave.

‘EYFS Learning Ladders’ is used in the Early learning age group (2-6). This curriculum develops play-based skills, independent learning, communication and interaction and social skills. ‘Footsteps’ for ages 6-16 years old, is a curriculum designed

to meet the needs of pupils working within the lowest of the P-Scales (P1-P4). Within the ‘Footsteps’ curriculum there is an even greater emphasis on developing early communication and Intensive Interaction. Technology is used to establish responsive systems to support not only social language but also to establish how much has been learnt.

‘Stepping Stones’ (Key Stage 1 + 2) designed for children aged between 5-11 years old. It is designed to meet the needs of those with a higher P-scale (P4-8). The curriculum focuses on the termly big question (theme throughout the school) and is designed to create interesting, engaging and meaningful pathways of study within each subject as a way of exploring the answer to the big question. ‘Reaching High’ (Key Stage 3+ 4) designed for children aged between 11-16 years old. It is designed to meet the needs of those with a higher P-scale (P4-8). The curriculum follows the Key Stage 3 National Curriculum and includes Personalised Progression Pathways, which prepares the pupils for participation in the adult world.


‘Moving On’ (Key Stage 5) designed for those above 16+ years old. It concentrated on Personalised Progression Pathways, which prepares the pupils for participation in the adult world. Focusing on; English and communication, Mathematics, PSD, Independent living, and Work related learning. Where appropriate some pubpils may also learn; Vocational areas, Retail skills, Work experience, and Enterprise.


Previosly this site was owned by Leeds county council. It was selected by the council as a possible site for the creation of an autistic school in 2014. In October 2014 funding for the site was approved, which meant that building could begin. The school was built in record time between December 2014-August 2014. This had deadline had to be met inorder for West Oaks to gain funding. The overall cost of the build came to £10 million which is double what the council had originally granted. Towards the end many budget cuts had to be made which led to a number of key design elements such as acoustics being over looked. The school was orignially started in Boston Spa as a SEN Specialist School and College educating children aged 3-19. It now has 3 campuses, Boston Spa, Oakwood Lane and Woodhouse, with around 250 pupils across the 3 sites. In the future they are hoping to become the largest special needs school in Europe.


West Oaks has very limited external space, due to its inner-city location. However they have used the external space to its full extent. Producing 4 different play areas. There are 2 play areas for the early learners which is accessed from therir classrooms, these include a tarmac area (black) with a sand pit, as well as an area of ‘Soft paw’ (Blue) for ball games and running around. There is a raised play ground for the older children which can be accesed from the ground floor. this area has a ‘Soft paw’ (Blue) play area for running around, whilst they also have a hard surface (green) which is for ball games and bikes.

At the front of the building there is a large car park, where teachers and visitor are able to park. This is also where the children a dropped off and picked up from. There is also a small area to the left of the gat way that has been landscaped, with green shrubs and a footpath leading through the footgate to reception. This is also where bikes are stored.



A minimaly sensory stimulating site has been produced, as it is important for the school to remain minimally arousing. Therefore the sight must be clutter free, with minimal colours and different environments. West Oaks uses PECS (picture exchange communication system) inorder for the children to remember what is going on in the room they are entering. A small image of the task is placed on the outside of the door below the room name, it is also writen in brail.


The materials respond well to the function of the building. Very dense materials such as; solid wood and brick have been used. These materials provide a sense of purpose, grounding and stability to the building.The calming grey and bright yellow has been used as a cladding and portico for the front, middle facade of the building. creating coherence with the colours used on the inside and in the schools logo.


The case study has taught me vital knowledge about autism and the workings of an autistic school. It has given me insight into the key design areas that need to be placed into my design, whilst also uncovering areas that can be improved. The space itself was aesthetically inviting, calming and spacious which I realised is crucial in the design of a school, It provides a safe, minimally sensory stimulating work environment, which enables autistic children to gain the best education possible, providing them with the key life skills they will need in the future in order to gain jobs and live a normal life.



Case Study: The Lighthouse School

The Lighthouse School was an excellent example of a secondary school for autistic children as it gave me first-hand insight into the running’s of an autistic school, as well as providing information into autism and teaching methods for autistic children. It is pertinent to my project as it not only gave me extra knowledge and research material into autism in young adults and the way they learn, which I felt was crucial in order to further my design and brief, but it also gave me inspiration and direction for the interior and exterior spaces. The range of outside spaces is extremely important as it provides ‘choice’ to the children. While the use of soft colours within the interior creates a calm environment, aiding learning.


The Lighthouse School was designed based on the needs of the children using it. It has been designed to promote low arousal, to reduce the likelihood of the autistic children attending having an episode.


The Lighthouse school is only easily accessible by car or taxi due to the school being on the outskirts of Leeds down a private road. The only public transport link are buses. There is a bus stop on the adjacent road, Otley Old Road with buses that run to Leeds and Holt Park. Cars can drive right down to the main gate where pupils are met by a teacher. The site is also easily accessible by car as there is a small car park to the side of the main gate, which is a short walk from the entrance. The majority of student attend Monday - Friday, 8:45am - 3:15pm, with most of them arriving and departing by Taxi.


“Every Opportunity is a Teaching Opportunity” Louise Greatrex, Principal


My immediate reaction on arrival at the school was that it felt very isolated, quiet and tranquil even though it is situated within the suburb of Cookridge, very close to the centre of Leeds. This is due to the site being surrounded by woodland and situated down a country lane. On arrival I was surprised with the lack of security, although the site is fenced off all the way round many of the internal gates where only on sliding locks, which meant that the pupils could easily unlock them. On entering the building it oozed calmness and serenity, however the entrance did feel rather clinical and cold, due to a lack of furniture and colour within the space. From the outset you can see that the building has been re-developed to be used as a specific school for children with autism, there are many key features that are important when designing such a school. Such as; limited sensory distractions and a large range of choice, both of which can be seen throughout. The Atmosphere of The Lighthouse School was very calming and serene. The school itself is well light, warm and inviting.


On arrival I found the site etremely haunting and scary. It almost felt like a location of a mental insitute, tucked away down a country lane and in the middle of nowhere. however on entering the school building itself that completely changed. The school feels new, ‘fresh faced’ and inspirational. With its bright spaces it is very welcoming. The landscaped garden makes it feel less forgotten about, giving the space a sence of purpose and meaning, unlike the rear of the building which is currently a building site.



The Lighthouse School is very well situated in a calm and quiet location down a country lane surrounded by woodland, which minimises noise pollution reducing the risk of a child escalating. It is located just off the main duel carriage way, down Hospital Lane providing easy access to Leeds city centre, Cookridge and many other suburbs of Leeds. The only downfall with the site is that there are no public transport links within easy reach of the school therefore all pupils must arrive by car or taxi, Very few outsiders know that the school is actually down there, which is beneficial on a security basis.


The site is of a good size, however due to the number of people wishing to come to the school, it could be beneficial for the site to be larger to cater for these extra people. The site is capable of have a maximum of 64 pupils attending, in classes of 9 with 3 teachers. The outdoor space is a little bit small, and extra space would enable the school to provide other activities, in which the children can learn from.


The autistic school fits extremely well into its surrounding due to the calming and quiet nature of the secluded site. The site is very minimally sensory stimulating and safe space for the young adults to learn in. The site has been redeveloped specifically to house this school, this meant that may of the children and staff’s needs have been catered for, creating an easier environment to teach and learn in. The surrounding woodland provides an area of nature within a city, the woodland environment is not only a good teaching opportunity, but nature is also known to be extremely calming.


“Inspiring Bright Futures” School Motto


In 1886, John North gifted £6,000 to open a convalescent home in memory of his daughter Ida. This opened in May 1888. Robert Arthington financed a second hospital on the adjacent site which opened in May 1905 and took his name; Arthington House. Ida Hospital, the two crescent shaped buildings, was more commonly referred to as Cookridge Convalescent Hospital. Cookridge Convalescent Hospital provided a place for patients who had been treated at Leeds General Infirmary to continue their recovery. Patients paid for their own care if they could afford it but there were free places available as a result of donations from benefactors. Three weeks convalescence cost around 8 shillings a week. During the First World War the building was requisitioned to care for wounded serviceman, resuming its civilian role after 1919. In 1939 it was again taken over by the Government and briefly housed the Leeds Maternity Hospital. In 1952 it was acquired by the Leeds Regional Hospital Board. The hospital was redeveloped into a Regional Radiotherapy Centre using the latest technology. This required considerable adaptation of the original convalescent hospital plus a number of new buildings which were constructed on the site in the 1950s and 1960s. The relative isolation of Cookridge from population centres of Leeds and Cookridge itself was a key factor in its choice for this role in the aftermath of the Second World War. There was much concern about future air raids and the consequent danger posed to the population from the escape of the radioactive materials used in high-dose radiotherapy treatment. The Hospital closed in 2008 when patient services were transferred to a brand new facility at St James’s Hospital in Leeds. Arthington House was refurbished into The Lighthouse School in 2014, Opening in September 2015. While the other crescent shaped building is being redeveloped at the moment (2016) into a Dementia care home. Interventions have been kept to a minimum to retain the historic features of the building.



The main circulatory route within the building is just one corridor along the ground floor which runs either side of the reception. On arriving at the site you are buzzed through an electric gate, and down a path through the outdoor play area. Upton entering the building you are led through the reception into a secure hall, where the curved corridors run of either side. Off this corridor are a number of class rooms, ‘Chill Out’ rooms and seating areas, with the main hall situated at that the end of the right hand corridor. Off the reception is a stairwell, which leads up to the 2nd floor, which houses the 6th form and the studio apartment. It also leads to the 3rd floor where there are meeting areas. The circulation is very simply laid out, however having to move children through the reception is not very practically designed. This is due to many autistic children seeing locked doors as thresholds, this can cause an episode to occur.


The site is very secure with a green metal fence going all the way round it. You enter into the site through a secure gate, which you have to be buzzed through. Visitor are then led down a path and through the main entrance door into reception, where they are buzzed through another door into the central, waiting area. Pupils arrive and leave through 3 doors. Some enter and exit through a door that leads straight into their classroom to reduce the likelihood of them escalating. While others enter and exit through doors situated at either end of the building. These doors are also used by the children at break time, in order to access the play area.


Pupils must still be buzzed through the secure green metal fence. They then must go through a green metal gate into the secure play areas, in order to access their entrances and exits. There are 7 possible entrances and exits into The Light House School. With many other french windows which open up onto the front garden and other courtyards.


The views from the windows are not particularly exciting due to the site being surrounded by houses. However from the windows at the front of the building you are able to see into the outdoor playing space, with its undulating grass mounds and curving paths. The windows at the rear of the building look out onto a woodland and a derelict building which is being redeveloped into a dementia care home. The building however has large windows providing a large amount of natural light into what would have been a dark building.


“Aspiration is key, we want them to be as independent as possible� Louise Greatrex, Principal

Being minimally sensory stimulating is a key part of the design of the building, as this reduces the risk of one of the children having an episode, which can have a knock on effect, effecting the other children. There are no loud bells or alarms within the sight,


The windows are extremely big, with a sloped ceiling around, allowing as much natural light as possible to enter the rooms in the day time. There are also large LED square lights fixed to the ceiling in an ordered pattern, providing a huge amount of light at low temperatures. This ensures a bright classroom, providing a good working environment for teachers and pupils a like.



The internal space is functional in the fact that it has been designed with the children’s need in mind. It is very calming and minimally sensory stimulating, calming blues have been used with in the corridors, with other calming colours used with the each classrooms enabling the rooms to be easily remembered. Each classroom is perfectly proportioned, providing enough space for a class of 9 pupils and 3 teaching staff. Each classroom offers the pupils a choice of seating, with private booths as well as normal desks, this choice is extremely important. Every classroom has a check in area, which is a reward system, or an area where pupils can sit and chill out. Not only this, but between every class room, is a ‘Chill Out’ room with bean bags where pupils are allowed to take themselves to in order to calm themselves down. Much of the teaching classrooms are on the ground floor all facing South, providing easy access into the building. It also reduces the risk of a child escalating due to a fear of crossing thresholds, such as going upstairs. Every classroom is sound proofed using specialized ceiling tiles which have holes in, this absorbs sound. There is very limited furniture placed within the classrooms, which enables a room to be cleared quickly in the case of a child escalating, or if the room needs to be used as another function due to limited space. There are also no notice boards around the school as this is a distraction to the pupils. Within rooms, no appliances can be placed to low, otherwise they will be ripped off the wall, therefore radiators are attached to the ceiling and thermostats are wireless, as well as this all doors must have finger guards, Within the building there is a large Hall, which is where PE is taught and it’s also where lunch is eaten. With many people in it, it reduces the echoing, providing a calming location. Within the building there are; basic class rooms, a ‘Well Being’ room - where relaxation is taught, a gym, a cooking classroom, studio apartment to teach individual living, a science lab and a library, providing space for the children to learn vocational and academic skills.



The external space has been re-landscaped into an undulating area of grass mound islands, surrounded by curving footpaths, this provides an area for the children to play. At the front of the school there is also a play area, with a small sports area, as well as a fitness equipment, donated by the ‘Wooden Spoon Charity’ worth £30,000.00, which promotes communication and builds confidence. This range of outdoor play areas, provides choice to the children ensuring they don’t get bored, giving them space to be alone or play in groups. Along with this a new horticultural project is being set up. The back of the school is going to have a new sensory garden outside the ‘Well Being’ rooms, designed by the pupils. Not only this, there is also a woodland behind the school, while there are houses at the front of the school.


“The Building is shaped like two arms giving you a hug” Louise Greatrex, Principal

The venue isn’t particularly effected by the British weather, due to the main functions being inside, also there is a large canopy, creating a covered area outside, to protect from rain. With the prevailing wind coming from the West, and the sun path moving from East to West, width ways over the length of the building, due to the building facing southwards. The road down to the school is extremely quiet with no traffic due to it being a private road. The woodland at the back of the building reduces the amount of wind and noise, acting as a shelter on the building.


The materials respond well to the function of the building. Very dense materials such as; solid wood and brick have been used. These materials provide a sense of purpose, grounding and stability to the building. The building itself is very aesthetically pleasing; not only because of the materials used but also the shape. It is symmetrical, with the same number of arches and windows on each side, this provides order to the surrounding which intern promotes calmness.



The case study has taught me vital knowledge about autism and the workings of an autistic school. It has given me insight into the key design areas that need to be placed into my design, whilst also uncovering areas that can be improved. The space itself was aesthetically inviting, calming and spacious which I realised is crucial in the design of a school, It provides a safe, minimally sensory stimulating work environment, which enables autistic children to gain the best education possible, providing them with the key life skills they will need in the future in order to gain jobs and live a normal life.



Ground Floor

First Floor

Second Floor



Design Precedent: The Seed Cathedral FUNCTION:

It is a semi-permanent sculptural structure designed for the World Expo. The World Expo is a vast international fair in which countries participate by creating themed pavilions, representing their nation’s technology, culture and achievements. The UK Pavilion catered to over 100 public and private sector events, hundreds of VIP and dignitary visits and over eight million general public visitors during the 6 months of Expo, it is the UK’s most visited tourist attraction.


The Seed Cathedral is a box, 20 metres high and 10 metres tall. Placed in the centre of a site which is the size of a football pitch (90 x 120m). From every surface silvery hairs, consisting of 60,000 identical rods of clear acrylic which act like fibre optic rods protrude. Each rod is 7.5 metres long, and extends through the walls of the box and into the air. Inside the pavilion, the geometry of the rods forms an undulating surface while on the exterior an image of the Union jack can be seen from every angle. The structure references the race to save seeds from around the world, by placing 250,000 seeds into the glassy tips of all the hairs, these seeds have been sourced from, China’s Kunming Institute of Botany, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership. By day, the pavilion’s interior is lit by the sunlight that comes in along the length of each acrylic (fibre optic) rod and lights up the seed ends. You can track the daily movement of the sun and pick out the shadows of passing clouds and birds and, when you move around, the light moves with you, glowing most strongly from the hairs that point directly towards you. By night, light sources inside each rod illuminate not only the seed ends inside the structure, but the tips of the hairs outside it, covering the whole site in tiny points of light that dance and tingle in the breeze.


NAME OF DESIGNER: Thomas Heatherwick and his design practice, ‘Heatherwick Studio’ BUILDING NAME: Seed Cathedral - UK Pavilion DATE COMPLETED: 2010 LOCATION: Shanghai’s World Expo

The pavilion is sitting on a landscape that is crumpled ike a sheet of paper, which suggests that the pavilion is a gift from the UK to China, still partly enclosed in wrapping paper. With inclined surfaces and lifted edges forming a gentle amphitheatre, the surrounding landscape is entirely carpeted in silvery-grey Astroturf, which translates the softness of the Seed Cathedral into a more tactile softness underfoot and invites you to sit anywhere, lie down or even play, rolling down the slopes. Its atmosphere of intimacy and ambiguity of purpose allows people to treat the space like a village green within a busy city, invoking the UK’s record as a pioneer of the modern public park. This structure was deconstructed after 6 months and each rod was either auctioned off for charity or given away to schools and the World Expo Museum.


I feel that this site is very sensory stimulating, the structure itself moves in the wind, while the light also moves within the structure depending on the time of day. Visitor are encourage to touch the rods and move around the sight freely. Also the curved interior creates a calm and relaxing environment. It is an extremely unique structure, due to the fact that it is completely made from acrylic rods, the way the interior and exterior light is created is totally different to anything else I have seen. The whole area is very well laid out and all of the space has been utilised to the fullest. The sight is also educational, due to the use of seeds within the rods, which have been chosen from China’s Kunming Institute of Botany, creating not only a space which is educational about the UK and China.


The inspiration for the design came from the Expo theme, which was the future of cities, “better city, better life”. The relationship between cities, nature and the significance of plants to human health, economic success and social change was explored and the research helped in the design process.



I feel that Thomas Heatherwick is inspirational because his designs show his commitment to finding innovative design solutions, with a dedication to artistic thinking, while also exploring the potential of different materials. Throughout his designs you are able to see a sense of futurist design, from the curved shapes, to the materials used. This is extremely important in my design process as I am wanting to develop on the knowledge which is already out there on designing for autistic children, improving the design elements.


Design Precedent: Celula Nave NAME OF DESIGNER: Ernesto Netto SCULPTURE NAME: Celula Nave DATE COMPLETED: 2004 LOCATION: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam for the ‘Perseption pf Space’ exhibition.


Ernesto Netto is an internationally renound contemporary visual artist, born in Brazil. He has exhibited in places such as ‘The Guggenheim’ and London’s ‘Hayward Gallery’


It is a semi-perminant room-sized structure, which Netto called soft architecture. Netto’s work is designed to allow viewers to navigate through and interact with the sculpture. It was designed to allow the sculpture to sink into the the contours of the body, the resulting psychology of the space feels simultaneously erotic (i.e. fleshy), maternal (i.e. comforting), and therapeutic.


Ernesto Netto’s Celula Nave sculpture is a collabsable biomorphic structure made up of 8 legs, which are made from stretchable nylon and polyester fabrics and organic shapes, filled with either scented spices or sand. Netto’s work allows the viewers to experiance the work through senses, creating an extremely sensory stimulating spaces.



I feel that this site is extremely sensory stimulating, the structure supresses the touch sense within a human being, by holding them closely, this helps to relax and calm people down. Visitors are encouraged to touch, and move with the sculputre. The sculpture almost looks like a large bean bag, which from our case study we know is helpful in the calming process of autistic children. It almost acts like a squeeze machine, supressing their fear of being held by a human, however providing a relaxing state. The colours used are not to bright, making them again very calming.


The inspiration for the design came from the Brazilian artistic movement “Anthropophagia” which began in the 1920’s. The whole anthropodino idea considers the human being in a scientific way, not only as an individual or as part of society. They viewed humans as either organs or cells, this installation depicts a cellular structure. Ernesto Netto felt that viewers are active participants in the artwork - they can touch, poke and even walk through the work, this is shown in this installation by people being able to sit and relax amounst the piece. Netto wanted to design an installation that was for ever changing, within his work he placed shapes suspended from the top which bob around. This plays with the various forms of perception, with what is visible and what cannot immediately be perceived.


I felt that this design was inspirational as it shows a sensory aspect of design. The use of the large bean bag could almost represent a squeeze machine, invented as a relaxation method. This design is inspirational in the design of a ‘chill out’ room as well as a sensory room. The enclosed environment, due to the blue covering almost makes people inside feel safe and enclosed, which is important in autism. Individual pods like this would be calming, while shared areas would teach personal space.


S P A C E S E V E N T S + F U N C T I O N S

User Requirements This building is being designed for autisitc children aged between 11-19 years old, and their teachers. The building will be designed around their needs and requirements, providing classrooms, play areas/ break out areas and therapy spaces. the therapy that these children will be undertaking (rebound and motion) is an important part of my brief, therefore the building will have to be designed around the specific needs of each type of therapy. The building must be a calm and relaxing place to be. it must be minimally arousing therefore clutter free. As this minimizes the risk of a child becoming distressed. A large number of staff will be required as in some cases there would need to be at least 5 teachers to one class of 8 pupils.

Important Spaces and Functions Required:


Sensory Spaces

Staff Offices

Transition Spaces

Rebound Therapy Room - Trampoline floor

Breakout Spaces

Motion therapy Room - Dance

1:1 Teaching Spaces

External Space - variety of areas

Small Group areas (max 6) - 1:2 teacher ratio

Kitchen/ dining area

Storage - minimal number of things out

Life skills area - cooking + computing




Relaxation/calm rooms - some padded

Lift access

Changing rooms

Spaces + Building Context The Diagrams to the right show where each function within my autistic school could be placed. There are many different options which I will need to look at in depth in the design process.

The main body of the school is shown in Orange, it will be placed in the heart of the building, split over 2 floors with access directly out into the outdoor space from the ground floor, which I have noticed in my research is extremely important as it makes transitioning easier. I have also looked at access into the building. Safety is a key issue at this site due to the busy road that runs directly outside the front facade. Therefore I have looked at moving the access to the rear of the building, accessing the building from ‘All Saints Avenue’. I have looked at circulation within the building, this is extremely important within an autistic school as broken up circulation can cause transitioning issues. The black arrows show movement in and around the site, While the pink arrow shows another possibilities. I have also thought about the outside space. I feel that there needs to be some barrier between the road and the outdoor play area (saftey precausion). This could either be a fence, wall, building or even a landscaped garden. This could run about 10 meters beyond the back of the building.

Key: Possible Extention Openings (doors/windows) Main Activity Areas Stairs Lifts Reception W/C Storage Closed off

There is also the possibility of adding an extention to the building. One option would be to added a catalivered extention to the 1st floor, acting as a cover over the entrance. This could house the library or even the staff room, which could over look the playground.



In conclusion the key points within my design report have been addressed throughout. However during the design stage I will need to gather more information on rebound and motin therapy. Looking closely at there key design elements and how these can be improved. I would also like to do more research into the methods of calming and how and why sensory spaces work. Within my design stage I am going to be exploring rebound and motion therapy in detail, designing spaces which enable the teaching of general subjects such as maths and english, within rebound or motion therapy classes. I would like to look at how a spaces becomes a ‘calming space’ which would enable the whole space to act as a ‘Chill out’ room, instead of having areas where they must go to calm down. I would like to design a space which is bright and modern, whilst maintaing the historic facade of the building. However some of the key elements that must be remebered when designing iclude; minimally arrousing design, lots of natural light, wide corridors, defined spaces or minmal transitons and personal space.


Bibliography Websites The Site: Documents/03%20East%20Leeds.pdf History: memory-lane-leeds-s-victorian-and-edwardian-baths-1-3145351 Autism:

100 Motion and Rebound Therapy: Case Studies and Design Precedents: The Fim:

Books Ido in Autism by Ido Kedar Autism: handling with care! Understanding behaviour of Children and Adults with autism by Gail Gillingham (1995)

L4 Autism Design Report  
L4 Autism Design Report