Jefferson House Hitchcock Wing

  • area / size 13,700 sqft
  • Completed 2022
  • Type Senior Care,
  • Amenta Emma Architects used biophilia to transform the patient experience at the Jefferson House Hitchcock Wing in Newington, Connecticut.

    Evidence from scientific studies on biophilia from around the globe support findings that using wood in interior finishes reduces stress and anxiety and improves emotional states. So, it is wood that sets the tone for the newly renovated common area of the Hitchcock wing of the Jefferson House.

    Jefferson House is part of the Hartford HealthCare system that provides long-term care and rehabilitation services for Hartford, Connecticut area seniors. The design not only soothes, but leads residents through the new space to a lovely outdoor patio overlooking a wooded landscape.

    Formerly, the open area of the wing was dark and closed in. To create something more homelike and bright, designers began by removing walls to capture space and light and improve circulation. The shower space was re-envisioned as a larger space with two zones and a spa-like ambiance, including a rain head shower replacing an old tub. Ceramic tile that looks like wood contrasts with a more neutral color to define the different areas. A dining area and adjacent kitchen engage residents in shared activities like cookie baking. A sitting area features a cozy electric fireplace. The ends of all the corridors have windows to the outside wooded lot.

    A warm wood ceiling wraps from one end of the space to the other, directing residents to a well-shaded wood gazebo that replaced an overgrown indoor greenhouse. The ceiling, with its felt backing and tiny perforations, boasts a high sound absorption value. A custom wood wall feature represents the native inkberry plant, a relative of the holly tree.

    Overall, finishes provide good contrast, improved lighting, and a simple, easy-to-understand layout. A centrally located, two-tiered nurse’s station makes it easier for residents to interact with staff. The changes, part of Amenta Emma’s commitment to inclusive design, make the space more appropriate for residents with a variety of physical or cognitive impairments.

    Design: Amenta Emma Architects
    Contractor: C. E. Floyd
    Photography: Robert Benson