When expanding its transitional living and recovery support services center for women coming out of incarceration, rehabilitation centers, or domestic violence shelters, the staff of the non-profit The Next Door wanted a human-centered design emphasizing the organization’s guiding principles of wholeness and hope.

The replacement facility, nestled on a 1.05-acre site beside the next-step independent housing complex, was designed to reinforce a sense of residential living. Its exterior resembles an urban apartment façade, blending in with the surrounding neighborhood and offering expansive views of the urban landscape. Large windows filter natural light indoors; a landscaped courtyard provides respite for residents and staff.

Each floor contains classrooms, a fitness/wellness room, a shared laundry area, and staff support spaces. The first floor houses the main kitchen and dining area, as well as a chapel, clinic, boutique, computer lab, and offices. The in-house clinic provides a space for residents to visit clinicians for exams and medication, and the program’s computer lab, library, and boutique are equipped for workforce development. A second-floor six-bed social detox unit with its own kitchenette stands ready, along with a dining area and residential rehabilitation services. The third floor consists of a halfway house with support amenities.

On its completion, the new facility doubled the organization’s ability to serve women by increasing from 40 to 80 beds, giving residents a sense of community and a place for a new beginning.

ESa has done a remarkable job of listening, researching, and incorporating all the possible needs of our facility for decades to come. The ESa team members dedicated to our project have worked tirelessly as if they were our own family—taking our needs and dreams and creating a vision far beyond our expectations. —Hugh Sloan, Chairman of Master Plan Implementation Committee, First Baptist Nashville

Photos © Michael Peck