Access West Cook

Suburban Cook County, IL

An intersection of accessibility and affordability

Spanning 16 individual locations across 4 municipalities west of Chicago, the Access West Cook project represents WJW’s ability to integrate functional, empowering and accessible design into a variety of existing sites and circumstances, from new construction urban infill to intelligent renovation and reuse of existing buildings. Each of the 42 residential units that make up Access West Cook offers affordable housing for residents with a range of disabilities and positive change for the surrounding neighborhoods.

In addition to providing access to well-designed, affordable housing for Cook County individuals and families, approximately ⅔  of the units are fully accessible for persons with mobility impairments — and carefully tailored to the needs of the individual population. Thanks to an evidence-based design approach and a multi-tiered vision for residents’ success, WJW’s commitment to designing for individual needs, rather than merely meeting the letter of accessibility codes, brings an often underserved population home to spaces that are designed to enable and support their lives. 

Access West Cook has also served as a touchpoint for post-occupancy studies, with residents sharing their real-world experiences of life in these homes as a part of WJW’s research into the project’s success. Thoughtful analysis and rigorous design study by the WJW team allow us to maintain close ties to our work and the insights offered by end users, creating opportunities for iteration and enhanced design that answer residents’ needs on every project.