Skinner Summit House - Universal Design / by Scott Henderson

Skinner Observation Deck.JPG

Clark & Green recently wrapped up a major project for accessibility  for people with disabilities at the Summit House on top of Mount Holyoke, in Joseph Skinner State Park, a spot that is historically famous for its sweeping views of four states. Here is what you may see at the Summit House on a typical summer day- notice the man with the walker, who could never have gotten up to see the view until now. And the painter is continuing a great tradition of painting the Connecticut River oxbows at Northampton.

Both ethical and regulatory requirements demand accessibility for the disabled. The concept of Universal Design assimilates accessibility as integral to all design – equal access for all.

Adapting buildings to provide access, as an afterthought, may lead to dramatic and costly construction, as illustrated by the Summit House.  Clark & Green, along with landscape architect Walter Cudnohufsky Associates, developed an integrated solution at the historic Stockbridge Library. A sloped garden path leads to a frequently used library entrance eliminating the need for a ramp. 

Condition prior to renovations

Condition prior to renovations

Completed project