New York, NY
REED Academy is a new, private non-profi t school for children with PDD-NOS or autism
and children that would benefi t from applied behavioral analysis techniques as their
primary educational focus. REED is committed to providing these children with a highly
individualized educational program that incorporates “one-to-one” instruction using
the techniques of discrete trials, incidental teaching and modeling within a data-based
The design for REED Academy builds on the idea of the environment as a “teacher” and
encourages productive interrelationships between built space and pedagogical technique.
To meet the unique requirements of teaching people with Autism Spectrum Disorders, the
proposed building itself acts as a learning tool through which students can acquire life skills
and job training above and beyond academic learning.
The school is conceptually based on an “interior street” that wraps around a central
Multi-Purpose room, which serves as the communal heart of the building. Two wings of the
building open up to the landscape beyond and create a sheltered courtyard for supervised
play and outdoor activities. Along each street are alcoves where students can set up
“stations” where they can learn communication and other life skills through modeling
and play techniques. Open communal spaces are dispersed throughout the school and
populated with kitchens, tables and pianos to encourage a sense of community and
interaction amongst students. These communal spaces and entries are equipped with tack
surfaces that allow for the display of student work.
The building includes spaces for housekeeping and personal care, where students can
learn fundamental life skills. Product specifi cations have been carefully chosen to allow for
a sense of variety that will enable autistic students to confront the unfamiliar and develop a
vital awareness of difference and complexity.
Location: Oakland, NJ, US
My Role: Architect