Innovations in Accessibility: Wilmington's LineSync wins Small Spaces Award

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WILMINGTON — World Architecture News recently recognized LineSync Architecture with a Small Spaces Award for its Wheel Pad, a 200-square-foot accessible bedroom and bathroom that can be attached to an existing home.

LineSync received the award in WAN's "temporary" category.

Fortunen AS's Skjervsfossen in Norway received the award in the "permanent" category.

The winning designs were selected from a shortlist of 12 projects, chosen by a jury panel made up of Jon Leach, director at AECOM, Marta Dom nech, architect and lecturer at Map13 Architects, and Adam Tither, director at EPR Architects.

Wheel Pad is meant to support and enhance the lives and well-being of those who have lost mobility due to accident, illness or aging.

"Wheel Pad offers a supportive environment, while still importantly allowing a level of independence and privacy for the person in need," noted a press release announcing the awards. "This remarkable temporary project can be attached to nearly any existing home through a backdoor or by removing the sill wall of a window.

"A very original use of proposal with possibilities of having a great social impact to improve the living conditions of people with reduced mobility," said Dom nech.

According to LineSynch, Wheel Pad provides eco-friendly temporary accessible housing for people with mobility issues, and allows friends and/or family to give support until a more permanent and accessible housing solution is attained. With a mobile chassis base, Wheel Pad does not trigger zoning nor permit issues in most areas in the United States.

"I think that this project is incredible as it is led by life, or someone who has had an unfortunate accident, but nothing about this space speaks of being patronizing or being sympathetic, it is completely appropriate in treating you like a human being," said Tither.

Leach agreed: "Things like this can come across as very clinical and under-considered, even sterile. This is a home and it's appropriate for different people, from young to old, its style isn't overly contemporary it's just right."

According to the press release, Wheel Pad allows for easy travel from the bedroom to bathroom and was crucial in the design strategy. An integrated patient lift track adds another option for accessibility and some physical therapies. The pragmatic angling of the track dynamically enhances the space. This, and the strategically located glazing, makes the room feel more expansive. A pair of extension cords fully powers the space with heating, lighting, hot water and a waste pump with all control switches at wheelchair height. Water is supplied via an insulated Pirit Hose from the existing home. A black water tank can be pumped out like an RV, or easily attached to the existing home waste pipe system.

The Wheel Pad was designed for Riley Poor, an award-winning sports cinematographer and film producer, who was involved in an accident resulting in quadriplegia, four days before his 26th birthday. After months of rehabilitation he moved to Portland, Oregon, accepting Nike's job offer made prior to the accident.

"Unable to find an accessible apartment, his only option for eight months was an accessible hotel room," stated the WAN press release. "After working all day, there was no bandwidth to accept offers to dine with friends and family, etc., and no room for them to visit and otherwise offer support. Thus, he was isolated."

Eventually, an accessible apartment was found, according to wheelpad.com. "He began to look for a house to purchase. During the next eight months, he worked together with LineSync Architecture to transform the house into a home that is not only universally-accessible, but also reflects his hip, 30 year old self! The entire process, from the time Riley was injured until he moved into his new home, took three years."

LineSync Architecture was founded in September 1988 as a home-based business wherein Joseph Cincotta, who designed the Wheel Pad, and Julie Lineberger worked out of one room in their rented home in Whitingham. LineSync is now located in Wilmington.

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