Time: 13:45 - 14:45

Date: Day 2


Design for the mind: designing for student mental health


Jean Hewitt, Access & Inclusion Specialist, Inclusive Design Buro Happold; UCL Lecturer “Inclusive Places”

Mike Entwisle, Partner and Education Sector Director at Buro Happold

This talk explores the impact of design on student mental health. Between 2015 and 2017, Buro Happold undertook the first UK and US student focused survey of how the university estate influences student decisions. Insights from this work led to a series of design sprints Designing for student mental health (2018/19), where Buro Happold hosted estates professionals and other members of the university team from over twenty-five institutions. Continuing this focus on design for mental health and wellbeing, Buro Happold’s Inclusive Design team are authoring a first of its kind BSI PAS guide – Design for the mind – Neurodiversity and the built environment. The guide includes both design and management of the built environment for neuro-divergence. A first step towards a formal standard to provide information for designers, planners, specifiers, facilities managers and decision-makers – placing people at the heart of the design process, acknowledging that human diversity and difference exists everywhere, offering dignity, autonomy and choices, spontaneity, and providing for flexibility in use. All this combined with a personal story outlining the experience which an immediate family member had at university, when her environment and daily routine along with a disability diagnosis contributed to her mental health issues, but also how a change in where she lived made a huge difference for the better. Other themes explored will include the lack of acknowledgement of the physical environment in university league tables, the position of this theme in UUK’s step change framework, and how standardisation of the reporting of mental health issues at UK universities will enable better diagnosis and targeting of resources.

Learning Points: 

1. Insight on the recently published first of it’s kind BSI PAS guide – Design for the mind – Neurodiversity and the built environment.
2. A fresh perspective on the influence of design on student mental health and what universities and designers can be doing more of.
3. Guidance on both design and management of the built environment for neuro-divergence.


Thinking Differently: Architectural Design for Hidden Disabilities

Speaker: Stephanie Kyle, Architect and Inclusive Design Consultant, Maber Associates

Stephanie will set out some simple design principles that can improve any project for neurodivergent building users and those with hidden disabilities. These ideas are easy and cost-effective to implement and will improve many people’s experience of the built environment. This presentation includes a brief introduction to different types of hidden disabilities and the most prevalent neurological and sensory processing conditions that can be supported through good design including Autism, dementia, ADHD, Bipolar disorder and Schizophrenia. These design principles will be justified by a summary of Stephanie’s primary research into neurodiverse inclusive design.



  • Jean Hewitt Senior Inclusive Design Consultant & Trainer - BuroHappold | Inclusive Design
  • Stephanie Kyle Architect and Inclusive Design Consultant - Maber Associates
  • Mike Entwisle Partner and Education Sector Director - Buro Happold


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