Featured Project: Minnesota Autism Center
Category: 2017 Education
Minnesota Autism Center is a non-profit organization working to serve children and families affected by autism spectrum disorder. The MAC High School serves as an extension of the existing school program already in operation on the adjacent site and offers the high school and junior college students a more age-appropriate environment. Designing for students on the autism spectrum provides unique design opportunities. The use of flooring was critical in creating various types of spaces and identifying space functions. The J+J Kinetex Pop carpet tiles with vibrant colors were used in active spaces such as Breakout and Game Room to create an energetic environment, while a subtle mixture of Flash tiles were used in the circulation corridor creating a calming and orderly space. Classrooms were designed with a symmetric layout of Flash and Pop tiles in one color that coordinated with the color and treatment of the volumetric threshold of the classroom entry to encourage focus and establish easy wayfinding. All of these methods can alleviate anxiety for students and improve the teaching environment for faculty. In the public spaces various Milliken carpet tiles were used to create social learning environments and to represent the school identity.
Floors by Beckers was immediately challenged following the completion of the project with manufacturers flawed materials. Weeks of intricately designed pattern layouts had to be removed, moisture system reinstalled along with 3,800sf of Armstrong resilient tile replaced. Armstrong was amazingly cooperative on the replacement. No questions asked once the claim discover was made. Starnet preferred vendor Armstrong and Starnet dealer, Floors by Beckers, wasted no time resolving the claim and satisfying the customer. A true vendor/dealer partnership! The only unfortunate aspect of this project is that only seven photos were allowed to show this facilities’ forward thinking and over the top design as it relates to the special needs of education and autism today.
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