Dirtworks, PC Wins IAUD Award 2017 Silver Award: Category of Regional Planning

Dirtworks, PC Wins IAUD Award 2017 Silver Award: Category of Regional Planning

New York, NY – Dirtworks Landscape Architecture, PC, was awarded the Silver Award from the 2017 International Association for Universal Design (IAUD) for the Els for Autism Sensory Arts Garden in Jupiter, Florida. The announcement was made at the IAUD Award 2017 Ceremony, held at Oskar von Miller Forum in Munich on March 9, 2018.

The Sensory Arts Garden is located at the Els Center of Excellence in Jupiter, FL, a non-profit facility within the Els for Autism Foundation. The 13,000-square foot space is both a therapeutic and educational destination for children and adults providing a meaningful experience through nature exploration and sensory enrichment. Motor, cognitive, sensory and social skills are nurtured through the variety of plantings, hardscape,and water features. Purposely designed to offer varying levels of sensory experiences, while minimizing sensory overload, the garden sets a precedent for specialized outdoor environments for individuals with autism and related disabilities. This garden provides the Els for Autism Foundation unique opportunities to integrate the arts for people of all ages and abilities, by designing and programming a “creative place,” which can be experienced via touch, sight, hearing, smell, taste, and movement.

Grounded in interdisciplinary research and a collaborative design model between David Kamp of Dirtworks, Dr. Marlene Sotelo of Els for Autism and occupational therapist Dr. Amy Wagenfeld of design+cOnsultaTation, the garden celebrates individual strengths and preferences, and positions nature as an essential partner in health and wellness. The design encourages visitors to engage with nature in their own way ,on their own terms, and at their own pace.

David Kamp, founder of Dirtworks, noted that, “the competition for this major international awards program is keen and we are pleased to receive this recognition. Welcoming to everyone, but designed to address the range of preferences and challenges for individuals on the autism spectrum, the Sensory Arts Garden is a fine example of how to carefully balance the aesthetics of nature within an educational and therapeutic setting.”

The jury, comprised of professionals from the US, UK, Europe and Asia, regarded the project as, “an exciting initiative.” The jury also noted that, “holistic attention has been given to the tailoring of this outdoor space as a therapeutic environment, taking it well beyond the more conventional sensory garden.

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