Advancing design for community and connection in a beautifully integrated senior residence
Evergreen Senior Living of Chillicothe, IL represents WJW's ongoing commitment to iteration and advancement in the field of design for senior living. Featuring architectural ideas that benefit elders by providing a home-like setting while enabling varying levels of care, the project achieves seamless integration into the surrounding community while creating a welcoming and stimulating community for seniors, their families and support staff.
The project, opened in 2015, contains a 53-unit assisted living building, supplemented by a companion facility, The Legacy, which provides a 20-unit memory care residence that comforts and empowers seniors living with dementia. Exterior elevations are carefully designed to reflect the surrounding residential character — including a wrap-around porch that offers both an invitation to outdoor relaxation for residents and a sense of connection to neighbors and the community beyond.
Both residences feature a range of formal and informal amenities and spaces for community programming including a café, fireplace lounge, library / game room, multipurpose activity room, chapel, fitness room, pub, restaurant-style dining room, and a movie theater. Representing a substantial step forward in design for assisted living, these amenities spaces are distributed through the community in specific locations that actively work to foster community and a strong connection with the surrounding neighborhood. The attention to detail, including siting of common areas to capture ample natural light and connection to distinct outdoor spaces from multiple floors, maximizes the exposure to the natural world throughout the building — a key contributor to wellness for seniors.
Within The Legacy, the evidence-based design is guided by post-occupancy studies on an earlier project for the same client. Grounded in an intentional household model of ten residents, the memory care community provides scale and familiarity that mirrors a private home, as well as the ability to separate each household as needed to help maintain a healthy environment. The two households are joined by an inviting winter garden and spaces for entertaining and day-to-day activities, fostering a therapeutic environment that encourages resident independence while enabling discrete care by staff.
Resident common areas are outfitted with provisions for day-to-day activities that are both accessible and engaging to seniors. The common dining room plays an important role in instilling a sense of community within the building. Evergreen Place also provides access to its neighboring memory support community — larger group activities and space for family visits are provided in the adjacent winter garden, activity room, and garden lounges that connect the two households. All spaces are designed to maximize exposure to therapeutic natural light, and residents have free access to a secure outdoor courtyard with covered porches, walkways, and gardens.