Students design accessible housing for veterans

Winners of the FSU accessible housing for veterans
design competition.

Florida State University Department of Interior Design students learn that design can make a big difference in the lives of people, especially those recovering from illness.

With this in mind, 39 third-year students were charged with designing a transitional rehabilitation home for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

An added component of the project included the opportunity to participate in a competition sponsored by Graceful Solutions for Aging, a non-profit based in Tallahassee that is committed to accessible housing.

Winners were announced at a ceremony Feb. 25. Jamie Klein and Kara Shrout tied for first place, while Mary Johnson was awarded second place. Francesca Cause, Cameron Robb, Brianna Browning and Katie Oliver received honorable mention.

Judges included award winning architect Michael Graves, along with advocates for accessibility J.R Harding and Carole Butler. The awards ceremony included guest speaker Billy Francis, director of the FSU Veteran’s Center, and representatives from Senator Bill Nelson’s office and Representative Gwen Graham’s office were present to congratulate the winners.

Students and guests at the student veteran design competition award ceremony Feb. 25.

As part of the preparation and programming for the design, students interviewed FSU student Nathan French, who is a Marine veteran and Purple Heart recipient. The lessons learned from him, along with research on rehabilitation centers, informed their designs.

Billy Francis and Lisa Waxman congratulate student design winner Kara Shrout.

The facility was designed to accommodate the unique needs of veterans who have completed the acute care phase of their recovery, but are still in need of some rehabilitation before fully transitioning back to civilian life.

Faculty mentoring the students included Amy Huber, Yelena McLane and Lisa Waxman.