Scatter-DD: Designing Deliberately
Ongoing and Developing Presentation
Design DC Conference, 2018
AIA National Convention, 2019
“Scatter:DD; Designing Deliberately” is a presentation of the integration of accessible public housing throughout Baltimore City. It is also an exploration of the history of public housing in the City, the State, and the Country; the realities of implementing and enforcing ADA compliant spaces; and an investigation of how these methods should be applied to other sectors moving forward.
Baltimore, like many cities, has a contentious history when it comes to providing adequate public housing to individuals; more so when looking into the accessibility of affordable housing for marginalized communities such as people of color, LGBTQIA+ folks, and people with disabilities.
This was most recently evident with the implementation of the consent decree between the United States, the Maryland Disability Law Center, and the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC). This settlement demonstrated Baltimore City’s failure to adequately provide accessible housing to individuals with disabilities; and thus provided a series of steps toward appeasing these past failures.
The plan from the consent decree “[mandated] that HABC [would] create 756 units to comply with federal accessibility standards…[and required] two and three bedroom single-family homes that are fully accessible to families with a household member who has physical disabilities.” Kathleen Lechleiter, AIA, and Peter A. Stratton were both contracted through HABC for the design and implementation of these units; Kathleen Lechleiter of k.lechleiter ARCHITECT (now Twopoint Studio, LLC) was the lead architect for 33 single-family homes, and Peter A. Stratton, Senior Vice President, Managing Director of Accessibility Services served as a consultant to HABC to ensure that all units were — and remained — accessible from design through construction.
The creation and construction of the single-family homes were a move not only toward providing adequate affordable housing, but also toward moving away from the hyper-segregated public housing structures that were once popular in the mid-century. Through various phases, a prototypal house was created so as to create an economically viable structure, while also introducing materials that were sympathetic to the neighborhood in order to blend in. One large part of the HABC units was creating single-family homes that were not immediately identifiable as handicap-accessible, to diffuse potential stigmas as well as more smoothly transition families into their homes.
“Scatter-dd” will explore and delve into the various steps and processes that have led to and gone into this project, as well as call for thoughts moving forward for public housing architecture and designing for the disabled in all sectors.