Paralyzed Veterans of America has awarded the 2013 Barrier-Free America Award to SPIRE Institute, for accessible architectural design demonstrating the importance of equal access for disabled veterans and all people with disabilities. The award was presented to SPIRE Institute founders, Ron and Tracy Clutter, during Paralyzed Veterans’ 2013 Americana Gala. Chris Smith, from ThenDesign Architecture, who was one of the architects behind the design, was also honored.
Photo courtesy SPIRE Institute
“We are so pleased and honored to receive the Paralyzed Veterans of America Barrier-Free Award. Our initial vision was to create a world class sports facility for use by all ages and abilities for the purpose of bettering themselves, as well as their fellow man, to inSPIRE a generation to reach new heights with no barriers to participation on any level. The dream of SPIRE Institute was realized in a unique and powerful relationship with our architecture firm, ThenDesign Architecture who shared both my vision and commitment to creating a world class facility for rehabilitation, research, training and performance,” said Ron Clutter, SPIRE Institute founder.
SPIRE Institute, located in Geneva, Ohio, is one of the most unique sports, fitness and athletic training complexes in the world—a place that empowers athletes by unlocking the full potential of the human spirit. SPIRE was recently designated as an Official United States Olympic and Paralympic Training Site, the $85 million dollar facility not only provides resources, facilities and programs for Team USA, but is a destination and source of inspiration for athletes of all ages, skills and abilities.
“The SPIRE Institute stands out as a truly exemplary project worthy of our Barrier-Free America Award,” said Mark Lichter, AIA, Paralyzed Veterans’ director of Architecture. “What the award is all about is honoring projects, and the people behind those projects, that go above and beyond basic wheelchair accessibility to a high level of "inclusive" design for all people. Whether you are a person with a disability or not, when you come to the SPIRE Institute your experience is the same. People who use wheelchairs aren't forced to take a different path than people who ambulate for example—it's integrated and seamless.”
The Barrier-Free America Award, established in 2001, honors and promotes leadership, innovation and action in the architectural, design and construction communities for advancing accessibility—an advancement that improves the quality of life for everyone. Through their work, architects, designers, developers and other key decision-makers can play an extremely important role in removing the barriers that people with disabilities face everywhere, every day. Previous recipients of the award have included architects, business people, philanthropists and television personalities.
Paralyzed Veterans' Architecture program seeks to promote an accessible, barrier-free environment, advocating for accessible design in architecture and construction industries, helping to develop building codes and standards for the entire nation and serving on federal advisory committees to further define Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines. These standards and laws extend beyond veterans rights; they benefit all people.
Learn more about accessible design from Paralyzed Veterans of America