Architecture Research Group

Interiors Reinvented: Design for Autism Project

Research is driven by an autism-friendly design project which provides design students with opportunities to hear the autistic voice. 

Interiors Reinvented: Design for Autism Project

The challenges

Inclusion of people with autism is recognised as a major societal issue.

Aims of the project:

  • To educate designers of the future how to sensitively design spatial environments for autistic people, helping to improve the users learning and quality of life.
  • To help progress the design of autism-friendly environments, specifically addressing sensory issues surrounding spatial transitioning.


The Approach

A semi-live design project taught through studio, case studies and sharing specialist knowledge.

Joan Love is a tutor on BA(Hons) Interior Architecture. Her research is driven by an autism-friendly design project which provides design students with opportunities to hear the autistic voice. The students learn how to respect the deep sensibility required to be able to work with a complex series of human centred needs.



Advancing the design of autism schools is at the centre of a teaching model developed and implemented over a number of years to enhance the student experience in focusing on a unique user type (Love, 2019). In essence, this work contributes to paving the road for future professionals to address the unique particularities of designing responsive spatial environments.

The Impact

Joan is a consultant for Leeds City Council on a bespoke adult autism accommodation project in Leeds.

Joan’s article has been published on The National Autistic Societies Knowledge Base.


Contact Joan Love

Joan Love is a senior lecturer and an artist who has experience of interior design in architectural practice. Her research explores autism-friendly design containing a special interest in spatial transitioning environments.

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