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New England Builder Wins National HUD Award
The Home Store was one of four builders in New England to be awarded a “Building Innovation in Homeownership Award” by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. FHA Commissioner and HUD’s top housing official, Nicolas P. Retsinas, presented the HUD award to the president of The Home Store, Andy Gianino, at the National Association of Home Builders’ annual conference in Houston.
The Home Store, a builder of custom modular homes throughout New England, was cited for “expanding affordable housing opportunities through the creative use of innovation in building technology and design”. The HUD award was for the design and execution of The Home Store’s T-Ranch model, one of two homes on display at The Home Store’s Whately, Massachusetts model home center.
The home was designed by Andy Gianino, President of The Home Store, and Ronald L Mace, FAIA, Director of The Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University until he passed away in 1999. It was conceived to be a permanent display of Universal Design principles. These principles state that products should be usable and suitable for all people, regardless of their age, size, abilities, or disabilities. By incorporating features such as level entrances, wider hallways, and larger doors, The Home Store’s T-Ranch is more accessible to everyone – a child in a stroller, adults moving in furniture, and a person in a wheelchair. The addition of several other small, but significant, design changes makes it easier for children to reach light switches, for people with arthritis to reach electrical outlets, and for anyone to open a door while carrying a bag of groceries.
Many housing experts have noted that Universally Designed homes are better able to meet the wide span of individual and family needs now and into the future. Unfortunately, many traditional designs are ill equipped to adapt to people’s changing abilities and circumstances. Such designs force people to make expensive renovations, move, or radically alter their lifestyle. The Universal Design T-Ranch gives a family long-term comfort, safety, and stability – all preserved without loss of affordability and without creating a clinical appearance.Mr. Gianino is a member of the Western Massachusetts Association of the National Association of Home Builders. The award winning home, with all of its Universal Design features, can be viewed by the public Sunday through Thursday, except for a few holidays, from noon to 4:30 PM at The Home Store’s Whately office along I-91.