An architect designed this soft, immersive jungle gym for his autistic daughter

When computational design and material systems expert Sean Ahlquist learned that his toddler had autism, he quickly refocused his work on how it could serve a medical purpose. At SXSW in Austin last week, he presented the latest chapter of his research into interactive tactile architecture–which he calls Social Sensory Architectures.

The project, called Sensory[PLAYSCAPE], is an amorphous playscape constructed from 3D-knitted elastic textiles fabricated on a computer-controlled knitter and stretched on sinuous glass-fiber reinforced polymer rods. Ahlquist, who is an assistant professor of architecture at the University of Michigan, led a cross-disciplinary group of researchers from the school’s architecture, computer science, music, and integrative medicine departments (see a full list of project collaborators here) to develop the idea they call “sensorially responsive textile environments.”

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16th March 2017
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