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Universal Design - Accessible Design

Accessible Design


Paralyzed Veterans of America is the only veterans organization with on-staff architects that provide design assistance to veterans. PVA architects are specialized in accessible design and have extensive experience.

PVA Architecture seeks to promote an accessible, barrier-free environment. We advocate for accessible design in architecture and construction industries. PVA Architecture helps to develop building codes and standards for the entire nation and serve on federal advisory committees to further define the ADA guidelines.

With the unique design knowledge of Paralyzed Veterans’ architects, many public buildings, stadiums, courthouses, memorials and other structures are made more accessible and enjoyable by the public.

We at PVA Cal-Diego are happy to visit your facility and provide feedback and support to your organization. Please call Peter at 858-450-1443 to arrange for a site visit. We do not report to anyone but you, and look to help you make the ‘Reasonable Accommodations” that help you not only meet the ADA requirements, but also help encourage San Diegans with disabilities to visit your place of business.


We are proud of our service to veterans. We strive to enhance the quality of life for people living with a spinal cord injury, spinal cord disorders and anyone with mobility impairments.



Universal Design


“Universal Design is the design of products and environments to be useable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.” – Ron Mace

Universal Design embodies the concept of implementing practical and pleasing designs that are easily and widely useable by a great number of people.  It can be applied to personal and professional environments, products and communications.

Universal Design as it applies to the home environment, can increase the accessibility, visitability, and usability of spaces that can be utilized by as many people as possible, regardless of age, mobility status, cognitive ability, or physical impairment.

Why is Universal Design so important?  It is not uncommon that someone with a disability cannot enter a home or a store because the building is not accessible.  Many times, even in their own homes, people with disabilities are not able to access their own bathrooms or kitchens because their house was not originally designed with accessibility in mind.  Implementing Universal Design principles, such as a ramp and a wider entryway to your home, will allow aging parents or friends with impaired mobility to visit because they can now enter your home with ease.  Making hallways 48″ wide will allow people with impaired mobility to have access to all parts of the house.  Incorporating a roll-in shower into your bathroom will enable a guest who uses a wheelchair to bathe.  Furthermore, a business that incorporates Universal Design would provide access to all potential customers.  For instance, a business with ramps at the entrance would allow for parents with strollers as well as people who use scooters, walkers, and wheelchairs to enter and shop in their store.

Contrary to popular belief, architectural design and modification incorporating Universal Design principles does not need to be expensive.  A new home with a well-planned design to accommodate accessibility and functional living may add only one percent of the final selling price of the home.  Costs to modify an existing home will vary, but you can expect costs to be significantly higher on major renovations due to structurally changing the home.  In either case, you will have a home that will be accessible and functionally useable for many years to come.


Explore our website to learn more about Universal Design as it applies to the home environment.  Cal-Diego strongly advocates for the implementation of Universal Design as a standard in all architectural design.  If you are paralyzed and are planning on modifying your home or designing a new home, contact your local PVA for additional information and assistance.


Visit these links for more information on Universal Design:

U.S. Department of Labor

Accessible Society

Northwest Universal Design Council




​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Paralyzed Veterans of America, Cal-Diego Chapter's mission is to improve the quality of life for veterans of the United States Armed Forces and others who have a spinal cord injury or dysfunction. 

PVA Ligo_edited.jpg

Paralyzed Veterans of America

  Cal-Diego Chapter

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