Universal Design in Action
Most injured U.S. service men and women returning from war must adapt to a home, even if it complies with Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines. The soldiers find workarounds to cope with their surroundings based on individual capabilities and preferences. Clark Realty Capital believed there had to be a better solution. The Virginia-based real estate firm, which is partnered with the Department of Defense on more than $4.7 billion of privatized housing for service members, collaborated with IDEO (www.ideo.com) on a new model for building accessible homes on military installations.
The challenge was to visualize and design the ideal home for soldiers injured in the field. The effort included floor plans and amenities that would not only meet or exceed ADA standards, but also be versatile enough to accommodate varied physical and psychological needs.
The design team “took an in-depth look at accessibility issues, interviewing and observing 10 civilians and 20 injured soldiers with different needs, meeting with their loved ones, and getting feedback from nearly two dozen experts.” U.S. Army Fort Belvoir and Clark Realty Capital unveiled the homes on Nov. 30, 2011, in Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
Using the principles of Universal Design and Design Thinking, the design team and architects listened to everyone’s stories and developed “an adaptable home for specific physical, mental, and emotional needs that also fit into the context of everyday life.”
You may also choose to listen to the NPR story from Feb 14, 2012.
Select this link to read the NPR_Transcript_BuildingBetterHouses