Located one block off of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, The Clare at Water Tower offers both housing for seniors and classroom space for Loyola University.

The project allows Loyola to expand its academic facilities while also allowing the Franciscan Sisters to fulfill their mission of providing housing for senior citizens, all while developing a low-impact use for an urban site. The design of the 54-story building maximizes views of Chicago’s Water Tower District and Lake Michigan.

Loyola’s classrooms occupies the first three floors, with the remainder dedicated to the senior living component. Thirty-two levels will house independent living while there are two floors for skilled nursing, one floor for dementia and three floors for assisted living. Other levels house a spa and fitness center and public amenities such as dining, libraries, kitchens and administration space.

The Clare at Water Tower addresses the needs of the senior community by maintaining visual and oratory cues through the use of atrium spaces. These spaces allow the natural connectivity of living, dining and social spaces while working within the space limitations of a high-rise format – including double or triple the floor-to-ceiling height of a typical community space. Ancillary seating areas and intimate furniture groupings are connected to the atrium allowing for intimate conversations and preserving a comfortable scale for various social venues.

The team successfully stacked skilled care, assisted living, independent living units and their respective support functions within a uniform 12,600 square foot plate. Our solution resulted in a highly-efficient design with amazingly short travel distances. The relatively small floor plate inherently integrates exterior views as well as permitting resident orientation to the conditions outside. This relationship represents a welcomed change to the traditional long corridors and potentially confusing maze of required internal programmatic spaces.