Friday, 25 February 2011

2 steps back 1 step forward

A few weeks ago I found myself at a fork in the road. One way took my design down the route of a building designed for autistic users the other an exploration of our academic facilities.

The thing is, buildings designed for the assessment of children with Autism and other special needs are nothing new. My research has shown me this. Though its has highlighted a ever increasing need.

My initial approach was to focus on the children, however as I have progressed my attention has been drawn to the TEACHER. There is a much greater and wider need for teachers who are trained to understand not just Autistic Children, but all aspects of special needs education.

Many universities today offer specific courses for teaching children with various special needs. However, these courses are often part time or on a evening.

The brief for my building has shifted to be the design of a new purpose built Faculty of Education building, for Sheffield Hallam University, into a suburban context in Broomhall, Sheffield.

It is envisaged that the building will create a new direction for the universities teaching program. Sheffield Hallam already provides specific courses dedicated to the education of children with special needs on a part time basis. However, it is planned that the new faculty will provide the platform for the integration of the special needs courses into the main curricular.

The building will also provide a base for teacher training programs on an evening and in the summer months, to provide current educators access to new teaching methods and special needs education courses.

The Goal is to attract Students and teachers from across the country by creating a unique blueprint for future educators, providing them with the necessary skills to better understand the needs of children with special needs.

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