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Trinity Woods: Intergenerational Housing

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Where Generations Meet

For millennia, people have lived together across many generations.  Indeed, living with one’s grandparents, or town elders, was a commonplace and even honored tradition in the 19th and early 20th century of many cultures.  The explosion of residential development and wide acceptance of automobile-based planning in the postwar era provided unmitigated prosperity, with a reduction in mixed generations and cohousing. The reduction of generations living together is an unintended consequence of the post-war era prosperity, but with it comes the loss of the intangible benefits of living with an extended age group. Recognizing this, three organizations are involved in exploring the benefits of intergenerational housing at a new facility: Trinity Woods in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Explore Trinity Woods in the video below and read more information below to learn more about the project.

Trinity Woods is located in the heart of Mount Mary University’s campus.  It is the result of a partnership between The School Sisters of Notre Dame, Mount Mary University, and Milwaukee Catholic Home. Intergenerational housing brings people from different walks of life and generations under one roof. At Trinity Woods the School Sisters of Notre Dame, seniors, and students who are also single mothers, and their children live within the same building.

The project originated from The School Sisters of Notre Dame’s need for a new home to replace their aging convent with a facility sustainable to their mission and means.  This spurred discussion with Milwaukee Catholic Home for options to house the diminishing Sister’s population and offer transition of unused units to seniors. Mount Mary University was chosen as the home of Trinity Woods because the sisters owned the land the facility currently resides on. The three organizations worked together, with Plunkett Raysich Architects, LLP to refine the vision and build the 258,366 sq. ft. project, first occupied in February of 2022. 

As the project started in 2020, the COVID-19 Pandemic played a big role in how the design team and clients collaborated and made design decisions. Together they navigated through remote work to develop consensus among diverse ideas. The resulting design of the building is unique as it was intentionally designed to bring serendipitous interactions between the sisters, seniors, single mother students, and children in order to build a strong, caring, and safe community.

Trinity Woods brings unique opportunities and benefits to each of the institutions, as well as the residents and surrounding community. From cost savings and mentoring, to providing instructional and student employment opportunities, to strengthening faith, to building community, and providing for those less fortunate. Trinity Woods has proven to provide a range of new synergies. There is a myriad of advantages to intergenerational housing.