Redesigning the school cafeteria to be a more inclusive environment for students with autism

Jenna Herbert
ARC623 | Fall 2019

Students with autism have different sensory needs than neurotypical students. Their senses are easily stimulated by the built environment. However, the existing school cafeteria often exhibits uniform furniture and one large space with no divisions for visual, auditory, or human needs. The cafeteria also doesn’t allow for furniture rearrangement and even often has fixed seating.

The new design focuses on providing:

• Option in seating with a variety of different activity levels

• Buffer zones to help separate noise

• Materials that absorb sound and are also pleasant to touch

• Different levels of visibility

• Access to daylight and view out of the cafeteria

• Acoustic prevention where needed

• Reconfigurability for students to get the most of the cafeteria