About the Project
Improving quality of life has been the driving force behind Clark Realty Capital's successful public-private partnership with the Army to redevelop more than 2,000 homes at Fort Belvoir in Virginia. Together, Clark and the Army have set the bar for creative ideas and pioneering innovations, including the first mixed-use town center on an installation and the first LEED Platinum building in the Department of Defense portfolio. It was a natural next step in our partnership to rethink how we house our nation's Wounded Warriors.
In May 2010, we made it our mission to understand the needs of Wounded Warriors and their families, how they live, and the role housing can play to make their lives more dignified, joyful, healthy, and rich with positive experiences. We then sought out the best scientists, architects, psychologists, consultants, builders, and engineers to help take our Wounded Warrior homes beyond typical code and accessibility requirements.
This research culminated in November 2011 with the unveiling of the Freedom and Patriot homes, two radically redesigned new homes that not only respond to the unique physical and emotional needs of these deserving soldiers, but also reflect the service and sacrifice these Wounded Warriors have given in the line of duty. The Freedom home welcomed a returning active duty Wounded Warrior and his family, who will experience firsthand their newfound freedom, safety, and accessibility. The Patriot home redesigned homes will remain open for a short time as a model for research and education, after which it will be home to another deserving family.
Our team will continue the learning process by collaborating with the IDeA Center at the University at Buffalo (UB). As a leading Center for research, design, education and dissemination activities related to universal design, the IDeA Center will be conducting a research project on the two new homes. The study, part of UB's Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Universal Design in the Built Environment, funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, will involve testing the usability and effectiveness of the universally designed components of the homes to help designers improve the design and usability of future houses.
The concept homes will also serve as a prototype for 19 additional accessible homes at Fort Belvoir. It is our hope that this endeavor contributes to a broader dialogue on how developers and builders can leverage thoughtful, human-centered design to better accommodate all persons with disabilities.