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2017 ASID Foundation Transform Grant Recipients Announced


June 7, 2017

The American Society of Interior Designers Foundation (ASIDF) is pleased to announce the recipients of its sixth annual Transform Grant. The annual award, made possible through the support of the Donghia Foundation, funds evidence‐based research projects that investigate the impact of interior design on a particular topic. This year the topic is designing spaces to support well-being for all.

The seed grant of $30,000 is awarded to an interdisciplinary team from Virginia Tech for their proposal to identify cost-effective ways to design and modify homes to make active living and aging in place a viable option for low-income seniors. The research grant of $70,000 is awarded to HKS, Inc. for their proposal to build a sensory well-being hub at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago and to test the impact of the built environment on high school students with low-functioning autism and other behavioral disabilities.

“The research of the 2017 Transform Grant recipients will broaden interior design knowledge on two key issues: how design can impact low-income seniors who wish to age in place, and how it can help young adults with developmental issues live a better life,” said ASID Foundation Chair Patrick Schmidt, FASID. “The results have the potential to improve well-being for all and to strengthen the knowledge base for all who design spaces.”

Seed Grant Award: Virginia Tech

The team will gather data on seniors’ perceptions and attitudes on interior design features and ambient assistive technologies (low- and high-tech) that would support active living for low-income older adults, beyond basic accessibility factors. The knowledge gained from the seed project will inform the design and construction of a transportable home environment to collect more data and educate the community to foster healthy, active behaviors at home. Virginia Tech plans to use the results to develop design guidelines for healthy residences that support active lifestyles, and policy recommendations for the physical, social, and financial well-being of older populations.

“We are thrilled to receive the ASID Foundation Transform Grant. As many seniors desire to age in place, we look forward to contributing to their improved quality of life by examining how interior design and assistive technologies can foster active living in low-income seniors’ homes,” said Dr. Elif Tural, assistant professor of Interior Design at Virginia Tech. “We sincerely thank the ASID Foundation for giving us the opportunity to expand industry knowledge and advance interior design practice for the health and well-being of this vulnerable population group.”

Research Project Award: HKS, Inc.

Through scientific evidence, observational field research, and the input of experts, the research team at HKS, Inc. will design a sensory well-being hub that can help adolescents and young adults with developmental disabilities recover from sensory stressors, refocus on learning, and return to a sustained state of equilibrium. The flexible/adaptable structure will include a sensor network that tracks outcomes in real-time without intrusion, and the research results will aid educators in providing both stimulating and calming sensory cues to students in need of sensory well-being.

“HKS is grateful to the ASID Foundation for this investment to support our effort to create, test, and build the multi-sensory well-being hub to serve diverse learners at Lane Tech High School in Chicago,” says Dr. Upali Nanda, director of Research at international design firm HKS. “We’re inspired by this opportunity to bring research and design together for a higher social purpose, and we imagine that this prototype will have many other real-life applications where sensory challenges abound.”

The two winning grantees were selected following a four stage review process including an assessment by a diverse jury of design and research experts. Jury members included David Ballard, assistant executive director for Organizational Excellence, American Psychological Association; Shannon Guzman, policy research senior analyst, AARP Public Policy Institute; Kay Sargent, senior principal, director of WorkPlace, HOK; Rachelle Schoessler Lynn, senior associate, MSR; and Ken Smith, director of Mobility, Stanford Center on Longevity. The ASID Foundation Board of Trustees made the final award decision based on the jury’s nominations.