Lighting stairwells and corridors

Recommendation 158
Light stairs and corridors relatively softly and as evenly as possible

Chapter (theme)
Installations ad appliances (lighting)

Because of
sensory (perceptual) problems, social interaction and communication

In order to
compensate for several perceptual and social problems and to enhance orientation.

Elaboration
In the theme stairs and corridors the wide array of experiences with them is summarized as: ‘Most ‘neurotypicals’ use stairs and corridors thoughtlessly, but youngsters on the spectrum often cannot. They notice their dimensions, materials, the lighting and the sounds much stronger and experience these more readily as oppressive, painful or disquieting. Moreover, stairs and corridors are where they get lost, where they get in touch – bodily or otherwise – with others and where a number of their senses – including the sense of equilibrium – are put to the test.’
From this follows a multitude of issues which should ideally be taken into account when building and equipping stairs and corridors. (Recommendation 64 offers an overview of the related recommendations.)

It is recommended to light stairs and corridors relatively softly and as evenly as possible, preferably in addition to daylighting. The emphasis on even lighting is because drop shadows may cause confusion or anxiety because of disturbed perception. (Aslo see recommendation 154.) Good lighting helps to satisfy a number of other autistic difficulties. Secondly it helps to meet sensory difficulties among which often occurring visual perceptual problems. (See the theme of this recommendation.) Thirdly adequate lighting improves the visual structure and therefore orientation.
Fourthly in some cases non-verbal communication problems are diminished with family members and, more importantly, visitors one encounters in stairwells and corridors. Good lighting makes it easier to interpret the facial expressions of others correctly.
Finally, adequate lighting is also recommended for youngsters who are afraid of the dark. (See the delightful Aldo goes to Primary School.)

*

Aldo goes to Primary School

McNally Morris Architects, Aldo goes to Primary School, Belfast, Queens University, 2013. PDF
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