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HOK Forward: Inclusive Design for Complex Buildings

How designers can create spaces that support the needs of neurodivergent people in airports, hospitals, correctional facilities, labs and sports venues.

The workplace is just one of the many environments that can be challenging for neurodivergent individuals. In this year’s HOK Forward, Inclusive Design for Complex Buildings, our experts share strategies for incorporating neurodiverse design strategies into spaces that tend to be big, noisy, crowded or confusing. While design alone cannot solve all the associated challenges, it can make these spaces more welcoming and accommodating, especially for neurodivergent users.

Topics covered in this year’s HOK Forward include:

Neurodiversity: The New Inclusivity: An overview of neurodivergence and the role of design in creating more accommodating and inclusive spaces.

Aviation: Our Aviation + Transportation experts map the journey through an airport from the perspective of a neurodivergent passenger, identifying stress points where design can help ease travel-related chaos and anxiety.

Healthcare: Designers in HOK’s Healthcare practice explore ways the built environment can better support neurodivergent healthcare workers, including providers, clinicians and caregivers.

Justice: Our Justice specialists examine a day in the life of a neurodivergent resident and correctional officer, suggesting six specific design opportunities to enhance rehabilitation and employee retention.

Science + Technology: Designers from HOK’s Science + Technology practice examine ways to humanize research labs by making them more responsive to user needs. The team highlights five areas where designers can make labs more inclusive and productive for researchers across the neurodiversity spectrum.

Sports: Our Sports + Recreation + Entertainment experts share tips for making sports venues more welcoming and accessible for neurodivergent fans and athletes. Strategies include ways to help those with heightened sensitivities prepare for, navigate and enjoy the game-day experience.


Note: Neurodiversity is a term used to describe a broad range of conditions, some of which likely will be unresponsive to design solutions. HOK’s approach to inclusive design is based on our experience as designers and architects with the objective of providing a wide range of options for users with different needs. Any attempt to address the needs of neurodiverse individuals should also include review of human resources policies, implementation of technology solutions and building operations among other considerations. HOK does not represent that any design solution discussed in this article and series is capable of achieving any specific outcome for an individual user.

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