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Kathleen Parsons

For her Thesis Project, Kathleen has designed the Centre for Dyslexia Support, an education facility that supports students with dyslexia. This project was based on research that investigated what design factors were affecting the learning of dyslexic students in educational environments. Kathleen is passionate about workplace and education design.

Project Overview

Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability that creates barriers while learning. Research has demonstrated that current classroom spaces are not an ideal learning environment for those who experience this condition and do not promote success. The Centre for Dyslexia Support is an educational facility that provides support for elementary/secondary-aged students who have been diagnosed with dyslexia, as well as the parents/guardians of these students and educational professionals. This facility has incorporated open style learning to accommodate all learning types, diagnostic testing, parent/teacher supportive seminars and workshops, as well as assistive technology testing and purchasing.

Infographic about dyslexia  Click to enlarge

What is Dyslexia and What are Current issues in Classroom Spaces.

infographic about open vs. closed spaces  Click to enlarge

Evidence Based Design: Open Vs. Closed Spatial Analysis.

Diagram of concept development.  Click to enlarge

Concept Development.

Concept/Design Process

An important aspect of the design process was understanding what design factors in current classrooms were causing issues for students with dyslexia. Open plan style learning, much like open office plans, is the ideal style of learning for these individuals. Strategies need to be in place to create a feeling of enclosure within an open space as this creates acoustical barriers, defines space, and reduces anxiety for the occupants. An open vs. close spatial analysis was conducted. The Concept of this project is building blocks. They represent the foundation and structural form young students need to be successful. To take this idea to a further level, the structural form and circulation of the space, as well as finishes and details, formulate from this concept.

Site Plan/Floor Plan

Understanding the building’s site plan was an important aspect of this project in terms of zoning and planning of the space. This helped ensure that key important elements such as the location of natural light, sound transmission, and circulation of space were considered and addressed. Student Support Spaces and Regeneration Spaces were designed to be located where maximum natural lighting was located as these are spaces where students will spend the most time.

Diagram of the site plan and zoning.  Click to enlarge

Site Plan and Zoning.

Diagram of the floor plan.  Click to enlarge

Floor Plan.

3D rendering of the cafe area.  Click to enlarge

Café Area.

3D rendering of the typical classroom.  Click to enlarge

Typical Classroom.

3D rendering of the study and refuge area.  Click to enlarge

Study and Refuge Area.

3D Views

The 3D views provide an idea of the spatial experience the occupants encounter within the space. The rendered images demonstrate natural lighting within the spaces, use of materials, design detailing, and the functionality of the space.

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