Syracuse School of Architecture>
07.26.11 Freedom by Design group completes second design/build project
Team captain Hilary Barlow reports that the School's Freedom by Design group has now comnpleted an interactive ramp and deck space for Syracuse resident Paul Halko. Halko suffers from IBM, a rare autoimmune disease which attacks the muscles. His condition made it nearly impossible to exit his home without a ramp. Before the FBD team intervened, the only way for Paul to access the outdoors was to be carried out.
FBD students confronted this accessibility issue by creating a personalized solution to meet Paul's needs. The space design allows Paul to actively engage in outdoor gardening through a series of stepped terraces along the ramp. The height of each terrace is custom designed according to the height of Paul when in his wheelchair, The garden terraces serve as a wall which wraps the ramp, unified by the orientation of the deck's dimensional lumber which spills over the garden "wall," along the ramp, to the railings where the lumber is then juxtaposed to create transparencye. A planter box wall provides counter space along the deck area, allowing Halko to view baseball games that take place in the field across from his backyard.
This is the FBD team's second design/build pr oject since the chapter's establishment in fall 2009. FBD is a nationally based student-run initiative where architecture students and those of related fields resolve accessibility issues by designing small-home modifications for those faced with physical, mental, and financial struggles.
The Freedom team financed the entire project through their own fundraising efforts as well as support from the Chancellor's Scholarship in Action initiative. Syracuse AIAS (American Institute of Architecture Students) hosted "Freedom by the Mic" this spring, an open mic an karaoke event featuring both faculty and student performers.
The group has shown its passion for challenging the typical notion of a ramp throughout the entire process. Through design critiques, working on construction drawings, site visits, and learning construction first-hand, the team has created a positive impact within the Syracuse community and SU campus. With plans to build another project this August and the start of a new school year, there's no telling how the FBD team will re-think other notions of accessibility.