Students design humanitarian architectural solutions: Jessica Di Fede

Bachelor of Architectural Design students are designing housing solutions for neurodiversity, cultural and social differences.

man with backpack on mobile phone walking down corridor with windows

With 2020’s challenges, the Humanitarian Architecture Travelling Studio (HATS) led by Dr Amit Srivastava and Associate Professor Peter Scriver pivoted to continue to provide a cultural and humanitarian design experience, while facing closed international borders and elimination of international travel opportunities.

Instead, the course saw students designing and developing responses for South Australians at risk of homelessness, and responding to needs of different local sub-cultures and neurodiversity in collaboration with local partners like HYPA and TACSI.

Bachelor of Architectural Design student Jessica Di Fede’s response ‘A home for all’ centred on creating a housing solution for adults with autism spectrum disorder. Jessica said that her design approach was focused on three key elements to provide a safe space for high functioning autistic young adults.

“My design approach was focused primarily on safety, comfort and learning, with my main objective being to exhibit these three elements through the chosen finishes, textures and the overall layout of the space,” Jessica said.

“I chose pastel colours as they provide a sense of calmness and also allocated different colours to the floors of different rooms to create a sense of direction. An example being all the bedrooms and sensory rooms being blue, to create a sense of calm and comfort, while in contrast the high traffic areas are pink.

“To ensure beneficial sound control and a greater sensory experience for the residents, my design incorporates extra insulation in the walls, ceilings that are fitted with carpet to help control sound and providing sensory rooms throughout the building.”

Check out Jessica’s poster and concept below.

Getting to know Jessica Di Fede

black and white photo of jessica di fede

Why did you choose a Bachelor of Architectural Design?

Having previously studied and graduating with a Bachelor of Interior Architecture, I knew studying wasn’t over for me. I have a deep passion for design and architecture and knew I wanted to further my skills. Due to the outbreak of COVID in 2020 trying to find a job in the design field was extremely difficult so I took this time as an opportunity to enrol myself into Bachelor of Architecture Design to further my knowledge and to increase my skills within the design world.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Adelaide?

I chose to study Bachelor of Architectural Design at the University of Adelaide with the intention to meet new people and create connections in this new environment.

What was your favourite/most important learning or experience from taking part in the HATS design studio?

The HATS design studio was an eye-opening experience for me, it explored the many different methods we designers need to think of when designing for a particular audience.

This studio has directed my designing process to be very cautious in the finer details.

Having the opportunity to talk with people who work within the Homelessness sector was extremely fascinating and informative, listening to their experiences was challenging on me as a designer on how I could incorporate their ideas within my design.

What are your future career goals once you are qualified?

Once I am qualified, I would love to explore both my qualifications. I would love to be an inspiring designer and work on meaningful projects, designing unique spaces that are practical and interesting and spark multiple emotions to those who use the space.

What are your top tips for someone who is considering studying a Bachelor of Architectural Design?

To always be creative. Creativity is a great tool, and allows you to be different and stand out from others, I would and always use this as an advantage within my design process.

Check out the other stories in this series:

Tagged in architecture, Student profile, student experience