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Through the NDSU AIAS Freedom by Design Program I was introduced to a definition of freedom that I truly believed did not exist. The freedom to come and go from my home whenever I want or need to. The freedom to be in my kitchen with the person I am married to and our children without stopping whatever they were doing. The freedom to prepare meals for myself, my family, or guests. The freedom to unload the dishwasher and put all the dishes away. All of this and so much more were made possible by the incredible and selfless students of the NDSU AIAS FBD Program,

their design mentor, Steve Foss, and construction mentor, John Gunkelman, Don Denning and We Don’t many other Fargo businesses who supplied necessary supplies to help me understand what the Serve Decaf definition of freedom truly means.

kitchen through over fifty volunteer hours put towards a variety of activities including food and t-shirt sales, individual donations, and a 5k run/walk. We also received donated materials and professional labor. The Unique Design Element Due to the space and storage limitations in the kitchen we designed a cart that can be moved to the side, allowing Corky access to a lower work surface at an ideal height for his wheelchair. The cart is set on fixed casters, complete with drawers, a storage space for a mixer, and a pull-out cutting board. We replaced a majority of the lower cabinets with sets of large drawers housing dishes, pots, and pans and replaced the microwave above the stove with a countertop version. Finally, we widened the doorframe that prevented the refrigerator from fully opening and replaced the refrigerator with a French door style. These modifications provide Corky with a greater sense of independence, safety, and ease as he uses and shares the kitchen with family and gives Peggy freedom from constant worry. Construction Process Our construction mentor leveraged his connections in the Fargo area, without which Corky’s kitchen would not have been such a success. Don Denning of Denning Fabrication welcomed us into his workshop and allowed us to assist him with the construction of the cabinets. Knowing and working with Don was a big advantage to this project: he purchased the hardware, drawer tracks, sink, and laminate at cost or at a discount.

We tested our true ability to organize demolition and construction schedules, accommodating the demands of professionals, students, and the client, all in hopes of making the transition from old kitchen to new kitchen as smooth and short as possible. In the first four days we removed the cabinets and flooring, widened the door frame, cleared debris, and patched and primed the walls. The professionals laid the donated tile floor over the following three days. A mere week after we began the demolition we started installation with the goal to return the kitchen to useable condition before students departed for winter break, only a few days away. The new cabinets, countertop, under-mounted sink, lower drawers and doors were installed as new appliances, also donated, were delivered. The last day before break the plumbers attached the water supply to the sink and faucet and installed the new dishwasher. Once the upper cabinets and the new shiny hood were installed the new stove and fridge were moved into place and Corky’s lower work surface and cart were installed. The final details – the refinished upper cabinet doors with new hardware, baseboard, and backsplash – were installed shortly after the break. Corky states that he is more than pleased with his new accessible kitchen: By the end of the construction over 200 volunteer hours were given by students, not including the many hours our volunteer contractors spent working on the kitchen. In total, through over 450 volunteer hours, students created, revised, and implemented ideas, turning our clients’ dreams into reality. C

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Crit: Journal of the AIAS Fall 2011  

Crit, a celebration of student work in the field of architecture (ISSN 0277 6863), is published by the American Institute of Architecture St...

Crit: Journal of the AIAS Fall 2011  

Crit, a celebration of student work in the field of architecture (ISSN 0277 6863), is published by the American Institute of Architecture St...

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