Great River Terrace

Windham & Windsor Housing Trust (WWHT) engaged the services of Stevens & Associates to transform an existing 1950’s era drive-in motel into a permanent, supportive housing campus—one adapted to the needs of the community’s displaced and disabled residents.

The design’s main purpose was to create a sense of place and home. WWHT applied the “Housing-First” model which takes the approach that the first and primary need of homeless individuals or households is to obtain secure and stable housing. This was implemented with a few strategies:

1. The motel building to the south was “flipped” to make the front face a new central lawn area and the existing north building. The new Community Building was positioned to help frame this lawn. 

2. Dichotomy between public and private was addressed through utilization of the deep site, thus moving away from the public road, and providing individual private entrances to each unit.

The units are designed as efficiency or one-bedroom layouts, a decision that lends itself well to the needs of population being served. Central to the goal of creating a permanent supportive campus is the need to provide those services through local organizations. The new Community Building, located at the property’s entrance, provides a place for residents to meet and receive support. This building’s design incorporates strategies that impacts how the building feels; tall walls, large windows with lots of natural light, an entry porch, and a vaulted ceiling for extra height. All these things combined create a space that is more than just a building, it’s a place that can hold meaning and memories to the people who live there.