Magda Mostafa

Magda Mostafa


Magda Mostafa

Magda Mostafa, PhD is an Associate Professor of Architectural Engineering at the American University in Cairo and a Special Needs Design Associate at Progressive Architects ( as well as Regional Representative in the International Union of Architects’ (UIA) Education Commission. Her research interests include design pedagogy and special seeds design- with a focus on autism. Her work on autism is widely published worldwide, and she has been called “one of the world’s pre-eminent researchers in autism design” by the international architectural media. She has recently developed the Autism ASPECTSSTM Design Index, for which she was awarded the International Union of Architects (UIA) Architecture for All Research Award at the 2014 UIA World Congress, and which she presented at the United Nations on World Autism Day in 2014. Her other awards include the International Award for Excellence in Design in 2008 and she was shortlisted for the same award in 2012. She was also nominated for the 2005 UNESCO Prize for Research and Training in Special Needs Education for Children. More information about her autism design approaches can be found at


An Architecture for Autism: the Origin and Future Applications of the Autism ASPECTSS™ Index

Magda Mostafa, Phd, Associate Professor of Design, the American University in Cairo

Design Associate, Progressive Architects, Cairo

In 2002, the first documented and published evidence-based research project on the effect of built environments on individuals with autism began. Published in 2008 in the International Journal of Architectural Research, this work became what autism researchers would call “core literature” in the field, and for this work, its author, Magda Mostafa, would be called “one of the world’s pre-eminent researchers in autism design”. Since then the preliminary findings of the 2002 study have been expanded and tested against best practices in autism design internationally, work which has culminated in the development of the Autism ASPECTSS™ Design Index, the first evidence-based set of guidelines for autism design worldwide. It has since been presented at the United Nations; World Health Organization; Office of the High Commission for Human Rights and their Committee for the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD); as well as at the first ever autism conference dedicated to design and hosted by the National Autistic Society in London in November 2015. This presentation will look at the origin of this work, its recent applications as well as its possible future role in improving the built environment experience for users with autism worldwide.