Magda Mostafa


Associate Professor
Department of Architecture


Brief Biography

Magda Mostafa is an associate professor of Design in the Architecture Department of AUC, where she leads design studio II, which focuses on the vocabulary of contemporary Egyptian architecture. She is also currently the co-director of the UNESCO-UIA education commission and validation council, which is a global think-tank tasked with setting architectural education policies and practices as well as upholding threshold standards of excellence.

She is a design associate at the Cairo-based practice, progressive architects where she specializes in autism inclusive design. She is the author of autism ASPECTSSdesign guidelines, the world’s first research-based design framework for autism worldwide. ASPECTSS has been presented at the United Nations as a framework for international autism design policy, as well as showcased in lectures and keynotes at Harvard’s GSD, the National Autistic Society in the UK, Ireland’s AsIAM and the World Autism Organization. It was awarded the UIA International Research Award in 2014 and was the subject if her well-received TedTalk in 2015. 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. To date, the ASPECTSS Design Index has informed 12 architectural, urban, and artistic projects in 4 countries, been a key resource for 10 policy papers, guidelines, and regulatory documents at national and regional levels and has informed the research of dozens of graduate and undergraduate students in 18 countries. Through various consultancies, ASPECTSS has been used to design projects spanning five continents and ranging in scale from interior classroom retrofits to urban-scale neighborhoods in Europe, the US, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Australia, and the UAE. Information about her work can be found at

She has recently joined the New York-based think-tank and inclusive practice MIXDesign as a member of their MIX Neurodiversity Initiative and as part of their team as an autism expert ( Their work together includes, among other topics, intersectional reflections on their ethos and areas of expertise with the architecture for the pandemic world of Covid-19, which was the subject of a recent NYTimes Magazine article (

Her other field of research looks at another form of marginalization through the study of informal settlement, and in 2015 she published the Juxtopolis© Pedagogy, a studio-based research/design methodology. The Juxtopolis© Pedagogy's resultant work has been presented and exhibited worldwide, including at Columbia University's GSAPP; Durban, South Africa; and most recently at the 2016 Venice Biennale. It is also an integral part of her studio teaching at AUC. She is co-author of the book "Learning from Cairo" and her Juxtopolis Pedagogy was featured in Columbia University's book series on Architecture and the City "The Arab City: Architecture and Representation" by Amale Andraos and Nora Akawi.

    • Scholarly Books

      • Mostafa, M., Stryker B., and Nagati O, Learning from Cairo: Global Perspectives and Future    Visions, Cairo, Egypt, Ford Foundation, (2013)
      • Mostafa, M. (accepted for publication), An Architecture for Autism Chicago Ill., Common Ground Publishing, (pending publication date)

      Expert Essays in Books

      • Mostafa, M., “An Architecture for Autism” in Environmental Psychology for Design, 2nd edition, Kopec D. (author), New York: Fairchild Publishing, (2012)

      Symposium Books and E-books

      Refereed Journal Articles 

      • Mostafa, M., (accepted for publication, 2014), "An Architecture for Autism: Built Environment Performance in Accordance to the Autism ASPECTSS™ Design Index," The International Journal of Design in Society
      • Mostafa, M. (2014), "From Freedom of Expression to Expression of Freedom: Responding to Socio-Political Change in the Classroom," Journal of Education in the Built Environment, 9 (1), 35-47.
      • Mostafa, M. (2014) "An Architecture for Autism: Application of the Autism ASPECTSS™ Design Index to Home Environments," The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, 4 (2), 25-38.
      • Mostafa, M. (2014), "Architecture for Autism: Autism ASPECTSS™ in School Design," The International Journal of Architectural Research, 8 (1), 143-158.
      • Mostafa, M.   (2011), "Inspiration vs. Plagiarism: Academic Integrity in Architectural Education," International Journal of the Constructed Environment, Common Ground Publishing, 1 (3), 85-100.
      • Mostafa, M.   and H. Mostafa (2010), "How do Architects Think? Learning Styles and Architectural Education," International Journal of Architectural Research (IJAR), Massachusetts Institute of Technology ArchNet, 4, 310-317
      • Nassar, K., M., Mostafa, and A. Rifki (2010), "Visualization Skills for the New Architectural Forms," International Journal of Architectural Research (IJAR), Massachusetts Institute of Technology ArchNet, 4, 346-358
      • Mostafa, M.   (2010), "Housing Adaptation for Adults with Autistic Spectrum Disorder," Open House International, Urban International Press, 35 (1), 37-48
      • Mostafa, M.   (2008), "An Architecture for Autism: Concepts of Design Intervention for the Autistic User," International Journal of Architectural Research (IJAR), Massachusetts Institute of Technology ArchNet, 2 (1), 189-211
      • Mostafa, M.   (2008), "Thinking Outside the Box- Addressing and Enhancing Visual/Spatial and Active Learning in Architectural Education," The International Journal of Design Principles and Practices, Common Ground Publishing, 2 (1), 113-120

      Editorials in Peer Reviewed Journals

      • Mostafa, M.(2013), "Editorial: Expanding Normal: Towards a More Inclusive Approach to Designing the Built Environment," Open House International, Urban International Press, 38, 4-7, Gateshead, Great Britain.

      Articles in Non-peer Reviewed Journals and Professional Magazines

      • Mostafa, M. (October, 2006), "Viewpoint: Enabling Architecture," Communication Magazine, The National Autistic Society, 38, (Miranda Kemp, Ed.), London, United Kingdom
      • Mostafa, M. (April 14, 2014), "Learning from Cairo: What Informal Settlements Can (and Should) Teach Us," ArchDaily, USA

      Technical Reports

      • Mostafa, M. (2009), The House of Arts and Culture Lebanese-Omani Center International Architectural Competition Jury Report, 13. 
      • Mostafa, M. (October (4th Quarter/Autumn) 2006), "Viewpoint: Enabling Architecture", Communication Magazine, The National Autistic Society, 38, (Miranda Kemp, Ed.), London, United Kingdom: Communication Magazine, The National Autistic Society.
      • Mostafa, M., Sherif, A. H., Sherif, N. H., Supreme Council of Universities Accreditation Report, Architectural Engineering Program, AUC, 341.
      • Mostafa, M., UIA International Union of Architects Validation Report, Architectural Engineering Program at the American University in Cairo, 377.
    Research Interest
    • Special needs and inclusive design
    • Design pedagogy