The Wounded Warrior Home Project

Architect Danise Levine of the University at Buffalo has completed design work with the Wounded Warrior Home Project, which will finish construction on two houses for wounded veterans today (Nov. 11) in Fort Belvoir, Va.

Levine is assistant director of UB's Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDeA Center). As an architect with experience in universal design and accessible design, she is part of the expert team that designed the homes for veterans and their families.

The houses will fit the unique physical and emotional needs of the soldiers who will move in. The dwellings are universally designed to be accessible to people of diverse abilities and ages.

Sliding interior doors and wider hallways reduce obstructions and optimize maneuverability within the home. The sink, stove and table are equipped with automatic lifts that adjust their height to fit different users at the touch of a switch. Designers even took the appearance of the floor into account; contrasting floor patterns make it easy for residents with reduced vision to identify where one floor space ends and the next begins.

"The collaborative nature of the project allowed all members of the design team to contribute in their area of expertise, which I think shows in the strength of the final product," Levine says.

Both new homes -- the Freedom Home and the Patriot Home -- address a variety of challenges that veterans might face. Exterior lights at entry points provide enhanced security and comfort for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injuries and vision loss. Glass doors provide visual access to the outside. Automatic entry doors that are wider than usual provide unobstructed accessibility for someone with a limb amputation or to a person who uses a wheelchair.

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