Department of Interior Architecture and Design students learn that design can make a big difference in the lives of people, especially those recovering from illness. With this in mind, thirty-nine third-year students were charged with designing a transitional rehabilitation home for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. 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. 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.
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. 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. Representatives from Senator Bill Nelson’s office and Representative Gwen Graham’s office were present to congratulate the winners. FSU students receiving honorable mention include Francesca Cause, Cameron Robb, Brianna Browning, and Katie Oliver. Mary Johnson was awarded second place and the judges selected two first place winners, Jamie Klein and Kara Shrout. Faculty mentoring the students included Amy Huber, Yelena McLane, and Lisa Waxman.