Wallingford Students Place 1st In Visitability Home Design Contest

WALLINGFORD, CT — (Contributed): Two students from Lyman Hall High School in Wallingford placed first in Independence Unlimited’s Visitability Home Design Contest 2021-2022.

The students, Faith Nyholt and Keeley McPartland, created design plans and a scale model of a 2,000-square foot home that utilized the home design concept of Visitability to take home the top spot.

Guided by their teacher, Alex Trasacco, Architecture and CAD teacher at Lyman Hall High, the entry highlighted their thorough knowledge of Visitability and the need for accessibility and flow in home design.

Visitability is the name given to a home design concept that requires a new home to have; one level or no-step entrance, wider doorways and hallways and a bathroom on the main floor that is large enough for someone using a wheelchair to use. The idea was that, if all single-family homes were built with these three basic features, then these homes would be able to meet a family’s needs throughout their life span. Visitability is known worldwide as a practical, economical, and inclusive way to build homes for the future.

Independence Unlimited is a Center for Independent Living in Hartford, where advocates assist people with disabilities to live successfully in the community rather than in an institution. The center’s staff, aware of a severe lack of accessible housing in Connecticut, decided to sponsor their Annual Visitability Home Design Contest to change that by encouraging young architects become aware of the need for accessibility in home design.

This year’s contest judges went through each and every plot plan to find the home project that best met the tenets of Visitability. The judges’ this year were Oliver Beer, owner of Bauhaus Construction, LLC who has many decades of experience as a structural engineer and, in retirement, is helping homeowners with remodeling their homes. The other two judges, who worked as a team, included Lauren Maurice and Dillion Sparks, both Board members of Independence Unlimited. Ms. Maurice is a health insurance and accessibility consultant. Sparks is formerly a general contractor with knowledge of the building trade and a special interest in wheelchair accessibility.

All participants in the contest will receive a Certificate of Achievement just for entering the contest and monetary awards will go to those who placed first, second, and third. Recognition of the winners will take place at Independence Unlimited’s virtual Annual Meeting coming up soon.