Codex and DCU design ‘quiet space’ for neurodiverse students

Increasing demand for neurodivergent-friendly facilities in schools, universities and private sector organisations, says furniture and fit-out specialist Codex.

Workplace solutions firm Codex has designed a new ‘quiet space’ in the Henry Grattan Building at Dublin City University (DCU).

The space was designed as part of a wider project within DCU to provide additional support for neurodivergent students who might occasionally struggle with stress or sensory overload, giving them access to a quiet zone within the busy campus.

“We are seeing more and more demand for neurodivergent-friendly spaces, not only from the education sector but from large organisations in tech, finance and other sectors”

Codex has delivered the quiet space as part of DCU’s Autism Friendly Project, which accommodates students who might be experiencing stress or other mental health issues. Codex works extensively with schools, universities, and other educational institutions, as well as organisations in tech, finance and other sectors, to provide specialist neurodivergent-friendly facilities for students and employees.

Soothing for the senses

The new quiet space is located in the Henry Grattan Building, a vibrant and busy hub of university activity, which can present challenges for students struggling with stress or sensory overload.

Led by Kate Nelligan, Codex’s Category Manager of Furniture and Interiors, the Codex team fitted-out a fully enclosed quiet unit that allows students to disconnect from the noise and bustle outside while remaining fully engaged with their studies – an important requirement.

The free-standing quiet unit features individual pods for complete isolation, a study space, and comfortable beanbags. Codex paid particular attention to the materials, incorporating fabrics are soft to the touch with no rough or harsh materials and no sharp edges that could cause distress. Acoustically, the unit offers top-tier sound control, ensuring users are disconnected from external noise.

The colour palette, featuring gentle, muted tones of blue, grey, and white, aims to soothe, while charging points eliminate ‘range anxiety.’ Importantly, students can access the unit without prior booking, providing additional reassurance of a safe space.

“Thanks to our partners Codex, we are delighted to open this essential space for our students,” said Fiona Earley, DCU’s Autism Friendly University Coordinator. “It’s vital that we can provide a quiet space where anyone who is struggling or feeling overwhelmed can feel safe and secure while remaining engaged with their studies. It’s a welcome addition to campus and we’re very grateful to Codex for the design and direction they have provided.”

In addition to delivering DCU’s new quiet space, Codex has been a sponsor of the university’s ‘Access to the Workplace’ programme since its launch in 2019. This provides gifted students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds with the opportunity to pursue a third-level education that might not otherwise be attainable for them.

Increasing demand for neurodivergent-friendly spaces

“Codex has been a proud sponsor of DCU’s ‘Access to the Workplace’ programme since 2019 so we were delighted to take on the project of developing an autism-friendly quiet space here in the Henry Grattan Building,” said Kate Nelligan, Codex’s Category Manager of Furniture and Interiors. “This will give students access to a quiet space with a calming environment where they can remain fully engaged with their studies, instead of simply having to go home.

“We are seeing more and more demand for neurodivergent-friendly spaces, not only from the education sector but from large organisations in tech, finance and other sectors,” she added. “It requires specialist knowledge and very specific furniture, textures and other products to create these spaces but they are so important in any building that strives to be truly inclusive. We hope the students of DCU get great use out of their new quiet space.”

Codex is an industry leader in designing, adapting, and fitting out office spaces for organisations with very specific requirements. The company has been an official Great Place to Work and one of Ireland’s Best Workplaces since 2017, and was recently named one of Ireland’s Best Managed Companies for 2023, which is run by Deloitte in association with Bank of Ireland.

Main image at top: Pictured are staff members of Irish owned Codex Office Solutions with DCU’s Autism Friendly University Coordinator, Fiona Earley, and Deputy Director Student Support & Development, Annabella Stover, at the launch of the ‘Quiet Space.’ Photo: Kyran O’Brien

ThinkBusiness, powered by Bank of Ireland, has been created for Irish business owners and managers who are seeking information, resources and help on a range of business topics. It provides practical, actionable information and guidance on starting, growing and running a business.