Page B1.1 . 09 June 2004                     
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    Accessible Garden Design/Build

    by B.J. Novitski

    A special collaboration has resulted in a new garden at the Fircrest Residential Habilitation Center, a facility for the severely disabled near Seattle. To describe the garden simply as "wheelchair-accessible" is to overlook its artistry and the diverse sensory experiences it provides to residents. Creative elements of art and landscape design integrate with functional elements to produce a place for environmental interaction.

    The garden's design and construction were completed in an astonishing ten weeks by a design/ build studio of two dozen University of Washington students from the departments of architecture, landscape architecture, and art. They worked with input from the Fircrest staff and residents and, under the auspices of the university's Public Art Curriculum, with professors John T. Young, School of Art, Nhon Troung and Roxanne Hamilton from the Department of Landscape Architecture, and James Nicholls from the Department of Architecture. Funding came exclusively from private donations, thanks to the fundraising efforts of Friends of Fircrest.   >>>

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    ArchWeek Image

    Textured but wheelchair-accessible pathways meander through the garden of the Fircrest Residential Habilitation Center in Shoreline, Washington.
    Photo: Chris Olsen

    ArchWeek Image

    University of Washington students learned welding and other construction skills during this design/build studio.
    Photo: John T. Young


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