Eden Autism Services
Education and Outreach Center

The Eden Institute is a private, non-profit organization that serves the needs of the autistic population through educational and outreach services. KSS, moved by the organization's mission, was honored to help Eden find a new home for its school, which was housed in a 1950s telephone switching station for 20 years. KSS identified and analyzed many potential sites, often attending local planning and organizational meetings with the organization. Together, they selected a site for the new school on the periphery of Forrestal Village, a collection of retail stores, offices and restaurants recently re-master planned by KSS. The environment provides teachers and students a strong sense of community and ample open space with walking trails for students.

KSS collaborated with Eden's teachers and specialists to design the new school, which incorporates "best practices" elements in the classrooms and gymnasium, including a sensory motor room and weight room. The school's focus are its vocational and therapy areas, envisioned as a house and an office. The house is a life-learning space for students to learn daily activities, such as making their bed and brushing their teeth, and relax in lounge areas. The office setup will accommodate vocational activities like administrative office work and telephone use. A school store in partnership with Wawa will give older students retail and work experience and a chance to interact with the public.

Project Highlights
Princeton, New Jersey

Program: Special needs school for approximately 80 students ages 3-21

Size: 38,300 sf (12,900 sf renovation; 25,400 sf addition)

Features: Classrooms with kitchens, restrooms, offices, observation rooms, multipurpose room, gymnasium, weight room, occupational/physical therapy sensory room, vocational and educational centers, school store, butterfly-shaped roof

Project team members: Eden Family of Services, Princeton University, Picus Associates and Mack-Cali

Recognition: AIA New Jersey Design Merit Award 2013

Related Links

The Princeton Packet: New Eden Autism school due to open this fall

Eden Autism Services opening new 30,000-square-foot school in Plainsboro for children with autism

Photography: Halkin | Mason Photography