My research explores the relationship between architecture and its influence, both beneficial and detrimental, on individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Individuals with ASD are commonly susceptible to environmental factors that drive social isolation and diminished learning opportunities, but sensory stimuli can also function in the opposite manner, as a supportive tool of self-regulation and motivation. The project is a series of sensory-responsive playscapes made of woven fabric and projections –including a large-scale, urban installation, and a satellite installation that will be of scale for a classroom environment. The latter will support classroom activities for both students with ASD and their peers in the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation.
Sean Ahlquist is an assistant professor of architecture at the University of Michigan in the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. He is a part of the Cluster in Computational Media and Interactive Systems which connects architecture with the fields of material science, computer science, and performing arts technology. Ahlquist's research formulates multi-modal design methodologies that position materiality as the primary agent in tailoring the spatial, structural and temporal capacities of architectural systems. Through collaborations with behavioral science, Ahlquist explores the relationships between human interaction and material responsivity, discussing architecture’s pressing need to address inclusivity for populations vulnerable to complex social and sensorial environments. Ahlquist holds a master of architecture degree from the Architectural Association in London, Emergent Design and Technologies Program, and is completing his doctoral research with the Institute for Computational Design at the University of Stuttgart.