Ascension Program

Every year United States veterans return home with injury; in fact, roughly 26% of our veterans live with some kind of disability from the service they gave to our country. Many return home with loss of mobility (bullet wound, loss of limbs, etc) that drastically changes the way they interact with the world and sometimes even the loss of the very freedoms they defended. This is not what our veterans deserve and this is why the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) and the American Galvanizers Association have teamed to help offer freedom back to veterans by presenting the design competition, Ascension.

Ascension asks students from around the globe to explore ways of ascending for those who must now continue to fight just to enter their home. The goal is to create an adaptable, lightweight wheelchair ramp for injured veterans utilizing galvanized steel that will give injured veterans the freedom to come home. The program was implemented in two phases, the contest design phase, and the building of the ramps.

Phase 1:

Groups from Universities around the world were asked to design and submit a ramp design that brought out their creativity in design and architecture. These ramps needed to be made out of 100% galvanized steel, they had to be safe and able to meet code requirements in the US and Canada, modular with interchangeable features, attractive and lightweight, low cost, and simple. Students were able to generate ideas for these adaptable, lightweight wheelchair ramps that would solely benefit an injured veteran.

In September 2013, the winners of the competition were announces via the AIAS website, and will be displayed at the 2014 AIA Conference and Design Exposition.

Phase 2:

Now that the winners have been announced, it is time for students around the world to build their own Freedom by Design ramp for their community. Feel free to use one of the winning designs of the 2013 Ascension Design Completion from Clemson University and Syracuse University or design your own!  The resources below will also be helpful as you move forward: 

If you are interested in participating in the Ascension Program, this is what you will need to know:

  1. Students need to prepare information and details about the ramp they would like to build
  2. Locate a galvanizer that in the area with the Galvanizer Locator that will help build the ramp
  3. The Galvanizer will help connect students with an appropriate fabricator

AIAS/AGA Ascension Competition Resources

It is important to be prepared when talking with your galvanizer. They may be curious about the weight of the ramp and the components, the design of the ramp and its components, and other materials that you may need. This is because they are trying to estimate their cost. If you are unsure about the answers to their questions, be sure to let them know that all of the ramps are lightweight, have readily available maters, and you can get them more information as time goes on.