Finding the way to senior housing for all
With a design emphasis on seamless wayfinding for senior residents and visitors, Silver Birch at Cook Road is an expansive yet highly-articulated three-story structure that punctuates the suburban and rural context of north Fort Wayne, Indiana and creates a sense of welcome and hospitality for seniors from the surrounding community.
The 119 units of affordable assisted living for seniors represent the successful coupling of low income housing tax credits (LIHTC) for construction with Medicaid waiver reimbursements for rental support, bringing housing of exceptional quality within reach for seniors of limited means.
Silver Birch at Cook Road also represents the inception of a productive design-build partnership which yielded an integrated and fluid collaboration throughout the design and construction phases. With a base of trust and transparency gained over multiple projects, both parties worked together to bring the overriding design goals to life within a tight budgetary framework.
Centered around a series of light-filled, interconnected spaces that invite nature in with a fluid connection between indoor and outdoor areas, the project prioritizes the independence and wellness of end users, and was certified Bronze under the National Green Building Standard. Advanced visual wayfinding techniques were developed and implemented throughout, including strategically placed wayfinding kiosks as well as distinct ceiling treatments, lighting, and finishes which combine to make navigating the building less challenging for newcomers and for seniors with lower visual acuity or minor cognitive impairments.
The entry lobby invites views into the adjacent, residential-scale living room tucked behind a double-sided fireplace, with glimpses of the serene outdoor living space beyond. Clustered within the central lobby space, multiple seating areas including a bistro and sunny lounge lined with large windows offer opportunities for residents to gather or entertain visitors. Living areas retain the scale of a private home, reinforced by thoughtfully layered details such as herringbone floors, artistically designed metal screens and a tiled hearth. The building's interior showcases sculptural wayfinding kiosks in the residential corridors to guide residents to their private studio or one-bedroom residences.
With these elements in place, Silver Birch at Cook Road combines WJW’s focus on advanced, research-driven design for wellness with the goal of inclusiveness, offering low-income seniors in Ft. Wayne a welcoming, inspiring home.
Building design and careful siting create a feeling of enclosure in the park-like green space that invites residents to enjoy their "backyard" amenities, including a gazebo and planting beds.
Silver Birch at Cook Road in Fort Wayne, Indiana recently earned 2012 National Green Building Standard (NGBS) Bronze Certification. Located…