Barrier-Free America Award

SPIRE Institute_wheelchair basketball
Photo courtesy SPIRE Institute

Nominate a project or person for the 2014 Barrier-Free America Award! Download the form at this link. Nomination forms are due May 30, 2014.

Paralyzed Veterans of America 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.

“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.” 

Award Winners and Projects

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

Nugent Residence Hall & the Disability Resources & Educational Services (DRES) Program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
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James Roth, The Treehouse Guys, LLC  
John Connell, AIA, special recognition award 
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  Barrier Free America Award 2009 - John Adams Courthouse in Boston
2008 Barrier-Free America Award Indian community school of Milwaukee

CBT Architects
John Adams Courthouse - Boston, MA
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Antoine Predock, FAIA
Indian Community School of Milwaukee

2007 Barrier-Free America Award: Access Living Headquarters
2006 Barrier-Free America Award de Yong museum

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

Fong and Chan Architects
de Young Museum

2005 Barrier-Free America Award Millenium Park in Chicago
2004 Barrier-Free America Award redevelopment of lower Manhattan

Edward K. Uhlir, FAIA
Millennium Park, Chicago

Frederic Bell, FAIA
Redevelopment of Lower Manhattan

2003 Barrier-Free America Award Ronald Reagan National Airport
Bob Vila

Cesar Pelli, FAIA
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

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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