Sanderson Apartments is designed to house 60 chronically homeless individuals. Based on the Housing First model and Mental Health Center of Denver’s (MHCD) expertise, the facility will create an environment to help heal, educate and improve the lives of the residents.
In conjunction with MHCD’s program and the dynamics of the site location, we designed a “C” shape building with two faces.
- A public/street face on Federal and Iowa designed and scaled to respond to the urban context. A building viewed from adjacent businesses and passing cars.
- A private/courtyard face, nestled in the “C” shape, designed and scale to the residential context. A place to arrive, feel welcome and at Home.
The residents, in transitional points in their lives, will be in the facility 24/7. They are free to come and go, but the nature of their past experiences required thoughtful planning and interaction with the building.
Using the principles of trauma-informed care we designed the whole building to serve individuals, small groups and large groups in comfortable spaces, simultaneously or at various times. Wider than typical hallways with views to the exterior landscape, natural light, multiple and varied sightlines, spaces to meet, talk, retreat, contemplate, interact, and commune, are all design strategies facilitating health and well-being.
We reduced the size of the individual dwelling unit to create a cozy space that serves all the individual needs of home but increased the building’s hallway widths to allow group spaces, porches and other community activities. The hallway becomes a street, a place of gathering, communication, counseling and meeting other people.
A community room, group dining, exercise room complement the indoor spaces while the large west exterior courtyard provides gardens, basketball and is the resident's backyard. A safe courtyard open to the sky, but enveloped by the building provides outdoor respite in the wonderful Colorado weather.
Affordable housing is the most important housing communities can develop. It has been proven that buildings play significant roles in people’s health and well-being, both positive and negative. Sanderson Apartments is a place that will benefit not only the residents, but the community as whole, by healing, nurturing and elevating some of our most vulnerable population.