Barrier-Free America Award

Ed Roberts Campus lobby
Photo courtesy Ed Roberts Campus

Nominations are closed for the 2015 Barrier-Free America Award. 

“Receiving the Barrier-Free America Award from Paralyzed Veterans is especially gratifying for the Ed Roberts Campus and DREDF,” said Susan Henderson, Board President, Ed Roberts Campus, and President of the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF). “This award acknowledging the universal design and beauty of our building has special significance because it comes from Paralyzed Veterans, a fellow advocacy organization that we have worked with for decades to ensure equal access, equal opportunity, and independence for veterans and all people with disabilities.”

The Ed Roberts Campus, located in Berkeley, CA, is named after the late Ed Roberts who, throughout his distinguished career, led the movement in California to bring individuals with disabilities into the mainstream of society.

The 82,000-square-foot building sits atop a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station and houses several organizations that serve people with disabilities. A major goal of this campus was to build a noninstitutional barrier-free building that would eliminate the need for exterior ramps for accessibility.

“The Barrier-Free America Award is all about honoring projects, and the people behind those projects, who go above and beyond basic wheelchair accessibility to a high level of ‘inclusive’ design for all people,” said Mark Goeller, associate director of architecture services for Paralyzed Veterans of America. “The Ed Roberts Campus exceeds existing accessibility codes and demonstrates how accessible design can disappear through seamless integration.”

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.  

Award Winners and Projects

Spire Institute
Barrier-free America Award winner - Nugent Residence Halls at Univ of Illinois - Urbana Champaign

Spire Institute
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Nugent Residence Hall & the Disability Resources & Educational Services (DRES) Program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
read story

Barrier Free America Award 2009 - John Adams Courthouse in Boston

James Roth, The Treehouse Guys, LLC, & John Connell, special recognition award 
read story/view video

CBT Architects
John Adams Courthouse - Boston, MA
read news release
view photo gallery

2008 Barrier-Free America Award Indian community school of Milwaukee
2007 Barrier-Free America Award: Access Living Headquarters

Antoine Predock, FAIA
Indian Community School of Milwaukee

Marca Bristo and John H. Catlin, FAIA
Access Living Headquarters 

2006 Barrier-Free America Award de Yong museum
2005 Barrier-Free America Award Millenium Park in Chicago

Fong and Chan Architects
de Young Museum

Edward K. Uhlir, FAIA
Millennium Park, Chicago

2004 Barrier-Free America Award redevelopment of lower Manhattan
2003 Barrier-Free America Award Ronald Reagan National Airport

Frederic Bell, FAIA
Redevelopment of Lower Manhattan

Cesar Pelli, FAIA
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

Bob Vila

Bob Vila
Bob Vila's Home Again


For more information about the Barrier-Free Award, please contact PVA Architecture at 202-416-7645 or



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