The Challenge

Design the ideal home for soldiers injured in the field.

The Outcome

Homes that address both the physical and psychological needs of soldiers as well as their families.

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Injured U.S. servicemen and servicewomen returning from war must adapt to a home, finding workarounds to cope with their surroundings based on individual capabilities and preferences. Clark Realty Capital, a Virginia-based real estate firm that has partnered with the Department of Defense on more than $4.7 billion in privatized housing, collaborated with IDEO on a new model for building accessible homes on military installations.

Facing the challenge of visualizing and designing the ideal home for soldiers injured in the field, Clark Capital and IDEO designed floor plans and amenities that would meet or exceed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards and be versatile enough to accommodate varied physical and psychological needs. The IDEO design team took an in-depth look at accessibility issues, interviewing and observing civilians and injured soldiers, and asked questions that shed light on how active-duty service members resume civilian life after debilitating injuries. What could make their experience more dignified and healthy, and what might reconnect them with family, close friends, and the world? The team uncovered seven contrasts that defined the complex needs of disabled soldiers and their families, and used these as direction and inspiration for adaptable homes for specific physical, mental, and emotional needs that also fit into the context of everyday life.

The final deliverable consisted of the home design but also included a book and poster that featured floor plans, elevations, and interior renderings. A compelling video montage depicting three real-life military families in the context and challenges of their current homes further reinforced the goals of this worthwhile endeavor.

U.S. Army Fort Belvoir and Clark Realty Capital unveiled the homes on November 30, 2011, in Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

The Patriot Home, Fort Belvoir, Virginia

Wounded Warriors — Alvin