Paul J Tendler Independent Living Center

  • Jawonio front copy
  • 14-Unit view web
  • 15-Parlor view web
An innovative community designed on 13 acres of land.

Client: Jawonio (affiliate of United Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State)
Location: Village of New Hempstead, New York
Size: 16,000 sf
Cost: $3,000,000
Completed: 2005

18 one-bedroom apartments. 1 two-bedroom unit in four buildings
Rampless, stairless
Remove barriers to emphasize abilities
Community living room

An innovative community designed to allow adults with developmental disabilities live independently has been created on 13 acres of land in New Hempstead for a non-profit service provider.

With this site, there was a unique opportunity to create an environment where wheelchair ramps are not necessary. We have eliminated the stairs and replaced them with gently graded slopes, which are easier to negotiate. We can remove barriers to emphasize people’s abilities rather than their disabilities. There is no place where only people who walk can go.

2006 AIA Design Award Winner

Since HUD regulations limit each one-bedroom apartment from being larger than 540 square feet, we had to be creative with this design. The units are configured to maximize living space. Each building will feature a parlor, or “community living room,” surrounded by apartments to encourage socialization and increase the living space. The actual apartment space would have been tight without these ‘parlor’ areas. The parlor can be used as a living or dining space, and apartment doors can be left open as residents build relationships. People sometimes tend to be isolated in apartment settings, and this design changes that. It provides the sense of belonging to an extended family – a sort of community within a community.