Trivers recently partnered with DOORWAYS, an interfaith non-profit organization that provides housing and supportive services for those battling homelessness or unstable housing, poverty and poor health from HIV, to design a new, three-acre, $40-million campus in the North St. Louis area.
Previously based out of an inconspicuous building in a residential neighborhood in St. Louis’ Central West End, DOORWAYS’ headquarters has moved to the new campus. Its former home remains as a 36-bed assistive living facility, one of nine properties DOORWAYS owns throughout the city. The new, centralized campus on Jefferson Avenue not only offers administrative space but also expanded housing, services and resources. It removes access and navigation barriers and creates a network of support for clients. It is also one of the largest investments the North St. Louis community has seen in decades.
“One of the main goals of this project was to help eliminate the stigma and bias associated with HIV,” said Neil Chace, AIA, senior project manager and associate at Trivers. “The Central West End building was basically hidden and had no signage, but the new, highly visible campus on one of the most traveled corridors in St. Louis is designed to make a statement and invite people in.”
The campus is currently comprised of two primary buildings. The largest is a 35,000-square-foot, multi-story wing with 50 one- and two-bedroom units for up to 112 people per night. The second 20,000-square-foot building offers client services and programming facilities, administrative spaces and offices, a community room, a volunteer center and a board room.
With a focus on sustainability, Trivers used advanced framing, or optimum value engineering (OVE), which increases the energy efficiency of the structures on the campus while reducing the amount of lumber used and construction waste generated.
“Before any concepts were developed, the Trivers team met with community members as well as DOORWAYS employees and clients to make sure everyone could provide input,” Chace said. “Then we created a diagram to help identify all the user groups and determine their appropriate level of access, which helped us design the campus in the most logical and efficient way possible.”
To foster a social atmosphere and encourage community interaction, the campus has multiple private and public outdoor spaces. With the installation of a sculpture titled Rumors of War by renowned artist Kehinde Wiley, it will also serve as a landmark for public art and social consciousness.
“As an organization that has always supported disinvested communities, our hope is that this new campus will be a resource and gathering place for the entire area by inspiring people to pursue their dreams while providing everything they need to succeed,” said Opal M. Jones, president and CEO of DOORWAYS.
At the new campus, DOORWAYS and its community partners will offer services such as behavioral health counseling, a provisions pantry for emergency food supplies, employment assistance, medical case management and self-development classes. Additionally, it will feature a retail pharmacy and meeting space that can be used for community screenings, health fairs and job fairs.
“The Trivers team listened to us, and they delivered,” Jones said. “We communicated that we wanted a modern, leading-edge facility, but we also wanted it to be a warm and welcoming space for our clients, our team members and the community. They exceeded expectations by creating a campus that is state-of-the-art yet feels like home.”
To celebrate the opening of the new campus, DOORWAYS hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, October 19. Other partners for the project included KPFF Consulting Engineers (structural engineering), Civil Design, Inc. (civil engineering), G&W Engineering Corporation (mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering), and Arbolope Studio (landscape architecture).
Watch the DOORWAYS FOX2 News segment
Founded in 1988, DOORWAYS is the only organization in the St. Louis region whose sole mission is to provide affordable, secure housing and related supportive services for people living with HIV to improve their quality of life and health outcomes. This mission is based on research that demonstrates that stable housing is the primary requisite for the most effective and compassionate treatment, management, and prevention of HIV. DOORWAYS provides comprehensive flexible and permanent housing options, as well as subsidies to prevent homelessness for those in their own accommodations. The goal is to provide clients with the resources needed to nourish, stabilize, and strengthen the environments that are essential to advance one’s life. These include housing; physical, mental, and emotional healthcare; education; income and financial literacy; and a supportive community. In 2021, DOORWAYS provided services to 3,548 men, women, and children in the St. Louis region. In the last four years alone, the number of people DOORWAYS annually serves has increased by 22 percent. For more information: www.doorwayshousing.org.