The Village at White River Junction
Architecture firm: 4240 Architecture Inc
Owner: Gates & Dickson (Byron Hathorn/Brooke Ciardelli)
Location: White River Junction, Vermont
This five-story, 80-unit assisted living facility in White River Junction, Vermont, was developed to join the surrounding community seamlessly. Its intentional position on Main Street at a historic intersection allows it to take advantage of the confluence of a vibrant neighborhood and Vermont’s verdant landscape. The developer, a local resident and his business partner, have significant experience in the arts and community building and selected the site to upend the traditional model of senior living.
"This project is one of the most delightful and exquisite projects that was submitted. The building feels like a rail car carefully and skillfully crawling up the hill."- Jury Comment
Perhaps the most novel aspect of the project is that it exists as a village within a village. Its overall design encourages easy movement throughout all five floors as well as access to thoughtfully designed amenities. Residents regularly explore White River Junction’s lively downtown main street, which is just steps away from the community.
In addition to its location, the developer was inspired by the idea that senior living can be much more than a place where residents wait out the rest of their lives. As the design team began to program and envision the building on its awkwardly shaped site, it prioritized the massing, architecture, and interiors to draw the community in while extending the residents’ experience out into the walkable neighborhood.
To encourage resident mobility while reflecting the diversity of the historic downtown context, the team created a “vertical main street.” Amenities are strategically located throughout the building with the best views, sensory experiences, and adjacencies in mind, providing residents with reasons to explore their floor and others. Each space’s name reflects local history and celebrates White River Junction’s culture. The concept reinforces the notion of the building as one’s home, whether residents are visiting the sequestered library on the fifth floor or watching the sunset on the wraparound terrace.
"The exterior detailing and freshness remind one of an industrial artist loft, yet they have the warmth and softness that contribute to a healthy senior facility."- Jury Comment
“This project is one of the most delightful and exquisite projects that was submitted. The building feels like a rail car carefully and skillfully crawling up the hill,” said the jury. “The exterior detailing and freshness remind one of an industrial artist loft, yet they have the warmth and softness that contribute to a healthy senior facility.”
The arts are deeply embedded in the project to enrich the hearts and minds of residents. They can participate in extensive on-site programs or take a stroll to White River Junction’s acclaimed Northern Stage theater located nearby. The unique community provides opportunities to learn about and create art, and those cultural pursuits are critical in continually enriching residents’ lives.