Press Releases
HKS, INC. ‘Sensory Well-Being Hub’ Shifts Education and Transforms Experience for Diverse Learners

The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) has released the latest case brief in its Impact of Design Series: The Sensory Well-Being Hub, designed by HKS, Inc. Winning the “social impact” category of the 2020 ASID Outcome of Design Awards, the project aids diverse learners as they recuperate and find balance throughout the school day. The Sensory Well-Being Hub exemplifies evidence-based design, with data-driven insights on developing spaces with audio, visual, kinesthetic and tactile features for individuals with sensory sensitivities—demonstrating the power of thoughtful and transformative design in providing equal opportunities for people of all abilities. 

“As we look to the specific needs of our environments, the Impact of Design Series spotlights interior design and its value in improving well-being, health and way of life,” states ASID CEO Gary Wheeler, FASID. “With this Hub, the HKS team proves the power of evidence-based design—the experience formed through the classroom’s design has measurable positive results that improve the lives and learning of students.” 

HKS, Inc. utilized various design solutions to overcome challenges and achieve their goals, including:

  • Sensory zones with an active zone including musical instruments, rolling pins and a peg wall; a respite zone with nature scenes, beanbag, weighted blanket, a Lite-Brite and fidget wall and a sensory “cocoon” providing a user-selected experience.
  • A free-standing sensory cocoon serves as a mobile micro-environment dampening sound and light. Users have control of a digital media wall that has interactive sensors for gestures and touch, color-changing lights to match the screen and a sound system.
  • Variety of sensory affordances of design elements considering tactile, visual, kinetic, and acoustic were included to allow choices for students with hypo- or hyper-sensitivity.
  • Fidget wall including various sensory interventions were included in the design based on investigative research that found fine motor skill actions could be soothing for students on the autism spectrum.
  • Modular structure solution with items that are nonproprietary for easy replication or replacement makes the hub construction inexpensive, quick and easy to modify over time or replicate for various scales and budgets.

The outcome of these developments and practices is one of success—students indicated higher emotional well-being over a period of time; a significant rise in happiness during their visits, which carried into the following class; and an increase in focus. 

Learn more and download the case brief here