Wallace Roberts & Todd, LLC, in association with Merlino Design Partnership, Inc., Job Haines Home

Job Haines Home – Bloomfield, New Jersey
Wallace Roberts & Todd, LLC, in association with Merlino Design Partnership, Inc. – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Type of Facility/Setting: Assisted Living

Facility Contact: Jacqueline Harrold, Executive Director

Firm: Wallace Roberts & Todd, LLC, (215) 732-5215, in association with Merlino Design Partnership, Inc., (215) 829-9810

Design Team: Gilbert A. Rosenthal, AIA, Principal-in-Charge; Joseph J. Salerno, AIA, Project Director; Heidi Segal-Levy, AIA, Project Architect (Wallace Roberts & Todd, LLC); Samuel Merlino, Bruce Hurowitz, Principals-in-Charge, Interior Design (Merlino Design Partnership, Inc.)

Photography: Jon Reis Photography, Barry Halkin

Resident Capacity: 93

Space/Resident (sq. ft.): 672

Total Area (sq. ft.): 62,000

Total Cost (excluding land): $10.9 million

Cost/Sq. Ft.: $176

Completion: September 2000

This project for a well-established nonprofit includes the phased replacement of the former nursing home and residential care facilities with new nursing and assisted living units, on the same tight urban site, just west of Newark’s downtown. The completed facility more than doubles caregiving capacity.

Early in the planning process, it became clear that redevelopment on the Home’s historic site would pose major challenges to both the designers and operators. The property’s small size (just over 2 acres), combined with steep terrain, mature vegetation and busy urban streets on two sides, significantly limited redevelopment opportunities. Further constraints were imposed by the facility’s insistence that no current residents be forced to move off-site during the construction period.

Because of these constraints, serious thought was given to simply selling this property and moving the entire operation to a new, less urban site that would be easier to develop. However, the Home’s board looked to its 100-year-old mission statement (to serve Bloomfield’s “blue collar working population”) and decided to reinvest in and continue to directly serve its original urban community.

Four overlapping principles guided the project’s overall conceptual planning: (1) maintain an impressive, 100-year-old, turreted brick structure (the image of the Home) and commit the resources to developing a state-of-the-art facility that ties into the strong brick architecture of the original building, creating a campus-like setting in the heart of town; (2) develop the site in several construction and demolition phases over 2.5 years to maintain ongoing care and quality of life without relocating residents; (3) create two separate, protected, landscaped courtyards, one each for Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing, but provide an interlocking commons facility and a centralized reception area to encourage resident interaction, and design courtyards as outdoor extensions of internal wandering loops for residents with dementia; (4) use the site’s steep terrain to create a main entry/commons/courtyard level and a separate kitchen/service/support level, both with at-grade access, and set service and back-of-house functions into hillsides where possible, to help reduce overall apparent mass of the new facility.

Four distinct assisted living “neighborhoods” of 12 to 20 units each provide a more homelike scale that improves socialization and offers increased opportunities for small gatherings. Each neighborhood has its own bathing-assistance and similar support/caregiving facilities.

New common spaces were carefully structured and furnished to recall the scale and detailing of the Home’s adjoining original structure.

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