Join the Facebook Group: NDSU AIAS-Freedom By Design

Freedom by Design (FBD) is an American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) led community service program that utilizes the talents of architecture and design students in service to their communities. Freedom by Design helps individuals with physical, mental and/or financial challenges to live independently within their home.

The goal with all FBD projects is to enable these individuals to live in a safe environment which helps them become more independent individuals in the community.
NDSU Executive members:
  • 3rd year: Nate Eversman
  • 4th year: Nate Miller
  • 5th year: Dennis Bukowski, Becky Johnson, Logan Kern, Alex Schrader, Alyssa Stroh

13 November 2014
Installation of the Sensory Board

Three years, a couple speed bumps, many volunteers, hours of work, the team at Dakota Construction, and countless other people helping out resulted in an awesome final sensory board! Check out some snaps below, and come back soon as more get posted:

Setting up the steel supports

 Main board installed

 The finished product!

The kids were so excited to see these new, weird walls getting put up but I'm sure all of us at FBD are much more excited to finally see it all put together! Thanks to everyone who has helped some way or another in making the project a success!

9 November 2014
Final Build Day Announced!

The Freedom By Design Exec team is excited to announce the final build day for the sensory board at Lewis and Clark Elementary! 

So, please join us on Wednesday, November 12, 2014
from 3:30pm to about 4:30.
We will meet at the jobsite: 1729 14th Street South.

Check out some of these progress photos:

The form waiting to be poured. Music staff, alphabet, and shapes.

Finished panel - the alphabet

The music staff and a dyed corrugation panel

Dyed quote panel

School's name and Lewis and Clark silhouette.

Thanks for hanging on with us throughout this project, but we are super stoked to be wrapping it up. Contact any executive member if you have any questions and we hope to see you there!

19 September 2014
Pulled Pork Sandwiches at the Renaissance Hall patio

Thanks to everyone who came and shared a delicious pulled pork sandwich with us. It was a beautiful day and we are appreciative to everyone who helped make it happen! 

14 November 2013
Recent happenings in Freedom By Design

FBD'ers are currently continuing work the Sensory Wall at Lewis and Clark Elementary School. We are excited to pour more concrete this weekend which brings us one step closer to installation in the spring. We know you're anxious to get your hands on this project, too, so keep an eye out for the build day announcement in the near future!

On Saturday, September 22nd come support the NDSU Freedom by Design Chapter. Sign up to walk/run the 5k for $15. Check-in is at 9:30 AM and the race starts at 10:00 in the Wallman Wellness Center parking lot.  Feel free to stay a while and learn about accessibility issues that many of us take for granted. Many people feel confined in their own homes. They are unable to get into their showers, ascend steps, open doors or pass through doorways. Most troubling is that many people are unable to flee their homes in an emergency without assistance because the residences are not properly designed for their specific needs.Freedom by Design, the AIAS community service program, utilizes the talents of architecture students to radically impact the lives of people in their community through modest design and construction solutions. Vital modifications are made to enhance the homes of low-income and disabled individuals by addressing their struggles with everyday tasks such as bathing, ascending stairs and opening doors. Our priority is improving the safety, comfort and dignity of the homes occupants.

24 April 2012
Jane Schank's Pergola is complete!

We had another great volunteer turnout on Saturday April 14. It was a beautiful, lucky sunny day (Friday and Sunday were both rainy and miserable!). Our volunteers and mentors were able to power out one gorgeous cedar pergola in a mere eight hours or so.

Now our last step in the Jane Schank project is the reconstruction of her south side fence. Construction of the fence will take place this Thursday April 26 and Saturday April 28.

Contact Ginnie at virginia.hausladen@my.ndsu.edu 
or Dane at dane.andersen@my.ndsu.edu for details regarding the fence building.

Here are a few quick snapshots of the pergola process:

 Jane made some delicious chili...

The final product

3 April 2012
Build Days Announced!

NDSU's Freedom by Design will be conducting Phase II of the Jane Schank ramp/deck project on the weekend of April 13, 14, and 15. The plan is to construct a pergola and fence extensions, as well as a few other final details, and officially put the "completed project" stamp on this exciting endeavor. The design phase and construction documents phase were completed in charrettes last fall, and now all that is left to do is construction.

Volunteer sign-up sheets will be posted in Renaissance Hall, and informational posters will be placed in both Renaissance and Klai halls. Volunteers need not be Architecture-related majors! All are welcome to help make a difference in our community!

For more information, email Ginnie at virginia.hausladen@my.ndsu.edu or Dane at dane.andersen@my.ndsu.edu

25 March 2012
Jane Schank Project Phase II

We plan to finish up our ramp/deck project with Jane Schank over the weekend of April 13, 14, and 15. We will be installing a pergola atop the four main structural columns of the deck, as well as building a wood fence extension. Keep your eyes peeled for posters and emails regarding volunteer lists and more details!

19 February 2012
Aging in Place design competition
While we wait for the winter winds of Fargo to subside, FBD will be pursuing a design competition sponsored by AIAS and AARP! Aging in Place is a universal design project that challenges designers to create a kitchen that is accessible for all ages and all types of users. The challenge is to take a 70's style galley kitchen and remodel it within a budget of $50,000.

We will be having our first Charrette on March 5th @7pm in Renaissance room 114. All disciplines are welcomed to join in on our creative process.

Finishing up Jane's Deck

Once winter's bitterness has gone, the FBD crew will be returning to Fargo resident Jane Schank's home to finish installing the final touches to her new deck: a lovely pergola and extensions to her fence, as well as a few other final touches. Both elements have been designed and all we need now is a weekend of warmth and manpower to put a "Complete" stamp on the project. Stay tuned for more information and dates regarding this project!

Jane Schank is a resident of Fargo who runs a daycare out of her home, with several kids with medical needs. In the fall of 2011 Freedom by Design designed and built a new wheelchair-accessible ramp and deck leading to the back side of Jane's home.

2012 Mobility for Mobility 5K dates announced!

Freedom by Design will be holding its third annual Mobility for Mobility 5K Fun Run fundraiser on Saturday September 22nd. Registration will begin at 9:30a and the race will begin at 10a. Stay tuned for more information!

Fall Project 2011: Jane Schank's ramp and deck

The NDSU chapter of AIAS Freedom by Design conducted its second major project in the fall of 2011. Our client was local Fargoan Jane Schank. Jane is a longtime veteran of the medical assistance industry, and since leaving professional practice has run a daycare service out of her home, specializing in children with special medical needs. Several of her little tikes are confined to a wheelchair, and since the first floor of her house is elevated several feet above grade, Jane has always been required to lift the kids in and out of her home. This is a hinderance to both Jane, who is eternally young in spirit but is experiencing physical limitations in her older age, and to the kids who just want to get outside to play and be kids.

In early September FBD conducted two successful design charrettes involving students of Architecture, Lanscape Architecture, Interior Design, and Construction Management, in direct conjunction with the client, Jane. These charrettes produced a comprehensive design and construction documents for the project.

We spent a four-day weekend at Jane's place, deconstructing her old deck, jackhammering her old concrete steps, pouring new foundations, framing the new deck and steps, and finally laying beautiful new weatherproofed decking, picked out by Jane herself. We had an amazing volunteer turnout, proving the tight-knit community spirit characteristic of the Fargo-Moorhead area.

Freedom by Design would like to thank all the volunteers involved, as well as a special thanks to the City of Fargo, John and Steve of Dakota Construction, Steve from SM Foss Architects, the Pickett Family and Champion Builders, and of course, our wonderful client, Jane Schank.

This project has served as an inspiration to all of us, proving the power of charity and goodwill. Thank you again to everybody involved, rest assured that your hard work and generosity has paid off!

2011 Mobility for Mobility 5K Fun Run
This year's 5K Fun Run is to raise funds for our current project with Jane Shank.
Jane runs a daycare in her home for children with disabilities. We are constructing a ramp and deck so the children can be brought inside more easily and brought outside to the play area safely.  

Thank You for your Support. 

Corky’s Project:  Phase II - 
                    Kitchen Renovation
Project Status: Complete!

This semester we completed the renovation of Corky’s Kitchen.  Changes that were made in this project include: a storage cart on wheels that slides to the side provides Corky a large lower working surface that he can drive up to in his motorized wheelchair, replaced lower cabinet shelves with drawers for better accessibility, installed larger hardware which allows him to access kitchen storage with ease, lowered the microwave, installed new counter tops and flooring after the removal of the peninsula, this provided more open floor space for easy maneuvering and added storage by expanding cabinets along exterior wall.  

Corky’s Project: Phase I -  Deck and Ramp 
Project Status: Complete! 
Our Chapter has its first client,  Carmon "Corky" Titus.  Corky has idiopathic peripheral polyneuropathy which causes "simultaneous malfunction of many peripheral nerves throughout the body that affects feet, legs, hands, arms and trunk."  Currently Corky has no feeling from his elbows to his fingertips and from just below his knees to to his toes.  He is unable to walk distances further than 20 feet in the morning.  As this illness is progressing, there will be a time when he is unable to walk. Corky's fear is that he will be trapped within his own home.

The goal of this Freedom by Design project was  design and build a ramp and deck on the front of Corky's house. Now that the ramp is complete Corky is able to live a more independent life, he is now able to leave his home without the help of his wife. 
To make a donation please make checks out to NDSU AIAS - FBD and send them to: 

North Dakota State Unviersity 
Department of Architecture and Landscape Architecture 
711 2nd Ave North
Fargo, ND 58102

Freedom By Design Team

Joan Vorderbruggen
FBD Faculty Advisor

John Gunkelman
FBD Construction Mentor
President of Dakota Construction of Fargo, Inc.

Steven Magnus Foss
FBD Design Mentor
President of S M Foss Architects