One of the Kids

  • area / size 8,000 sqft
  • Completed 2020
  • Location Austin, Texas, , United States
  • Runa Workshop completed a unique and thoughtful space designed for kids with autism at One of the Kids in Austin, Texas.

    We believe in designing for all and designing for a cause. Located North of Austin, this special campus for children with Autism is a safe haven where kids are encouraged to grow through learning, creating, and playing. Inspired by the idea of intentional and playful wandering, our design aimed to celebrate unique ways that each individual child learns to wander through life. With a tight budget, we knew we had to get creative. We did so with great honor and care in order to bring this local family’s passion project to life.

    Sensory well being was at the forefront of all design conversations, ensuring every element encouraged children to explore surroundings while not feeling overwhelmed. To achieve this, we utilized biophilic design and brought in strong connections to nature with natural light and materials that mimicked those components, while being mindful of a tight budget. Playful textures in materials like oriented strand boards reinforce this connection, serving as visual cues for moments of refuge. They are also incredibly cost-effective. Other elements, like turf in the play area, let kids feel like they’re outdoors, while an abstract mountain range wanders through the corridors providing moments of surprise and delight. When children need a space to themselves, they can hang out in small nooks that feel like personal treehouses, or retreat to the chill room, where indirect light and dark colors help calm the mind and soothe overstimulated kids. A large indoor/outdoor play area and indoor pool are added features that strengthen children’s social skills and promote the overarching mission; autonomy through discovery.

    Architect: Runa Workshop
    Photography: Dror Baldinger