People with Down syndrome sometimes experience space in public and home environments in a different way to others. A study in Belgium of people with Down syndrome and building design revealed some interesting results.
For example, the separation of spaces is not always clear if there is no architectural delineation. Participants showed a preference for brightness, large windows, and illuminated objects and surfaces.
Privacy of space was also important, particularly quiet space. Familiar landmarks and furniture were also important. The discussion section of the paper provides more insights that could help designers consider the intellectual perspectives of users, and not just for people with Down syndrome. The paper also makes links to universal design.
The title of the paper is, “Inclusion of Down Syndrome in Architectural Design: Towards a Methodology“. Authors are Clémintine Schelings and Catherine Elson.
You can download it in PDF (400kb) or in Word (2MB) or open access on the University of Liege website.
Editor’s note: More recent research on neurodiversity, autism and dementia have similar findings.