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Media Room

Universal Design Living Laboratory Breaks Ground

Action Magazine
November 9, 2009
By Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D.
Copyright © 2009 Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D.
Publication copyright © 2009 United Spinal Association

On September 23, 2009, the Universal Design Living Laboratory,  a national demonstration home based in Columbus, Ohio, passed a major milestone. Designed to showcase universal design, green building and healthy home construction practices, the 3,500 square foot ranch-style home will be the residence and home office for my husband Mark and me. After five years of intensive design and planning, the UDLL was finally able to break ground.

The event drew a crowd of over 100 people to the 1.5 acre lot where the Frank Lloyd Wright inspired home will go up. Guests included representatives of the 121 local national, and international corporations and organizations that are contributing products and services to the project. Also attending were reporters from local television stations, newspapers and magazines; leaders of the disability community; U.S., state, city and township leaders; family, friends, and neighbors.

I led the lineup of speakers and moderated the program. Remarks were given by government representatives including Marian Harris, Ohio House of Representatives; Kris Long, Ohio Legislative Director; and Mark Bell, U. S. District Representative. Also speaking were Patrick Manley, project architect; Chick McBrien, representing Marvin Windows and Doors; Robert Vanecko of the Department of Rehabilitation Services at Ohio State University; and my husband.

The Ohio House of Representatives presented Mark and me with a resolution recognizing UDLL and all those involved: “The creation of the Universal Design Living Laboratory convincingly demonstrates how very much can be accomplished by a group of conscientious people with clear objectives and firm resolve, and we applaud them on their tremendous work.”

UDLL is a model for others to learn from so they can remodel and build homes at a price that is appropriate for their budgets. The universal design components incorporated in this home can be transferred to homes of any architectural style and in any price range. From a luxury custom home to a modest 900 square-foot bungalow, universal design principles and features are the same. The cost to build or remodel a home is largely based on quality of the building materials selected, size of the home, location and size of the lot, and construction techniques utilized.

The Web site for the project contains a rich resource of information about the project, as well as universal design and green building practices. Check out the many articles, floor plan, renderings, press releases, handouts, virtual flyover, and links to other web sites.

As the general contractors for the project, Mark and I hope to complete the construction in the summer of 2010. The house will be open to the public for tours for the first month, with net proceeds going towards spinal cord injury (SCI) research at Ohio State University, where I spent two years in physical and occupational therapy after my SCI in1998.

Mark is currently installing a camera on a tall telephone pole in the front of the property at the home site. This will serve as a Webcam so people around the world can watch the construction of this home on their computer screens by going to our Web site.

There are many new technologies entering the market that make life easier for people. As a person with SCI, I look forward to the time when the design of my new home and the technologies incorporated help level the playing field to provide more convenience and independence.

Rosemarie Rossetti, PhD is building a national model universal design home in metropolitan Columbus, Ohio. To learn more about the Universal Design Living Laboratory go to: www.UDLL.com. Contact Rosemarie with your ideas for future columns, questions, and accessible home problems at [email protected].

Copyright © 2005-2021 Universal Design Living Laboratory. All rights reserved worldwide.
Copyright © 2005-2021 Universal Design Living Laboratory. All rights reserved worldwide.