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FORWARD at the Rock

South Dennis, Massachusetts
Date 2022
Size 4,800 SF; 8 units
Cost $2M
Client Friends or Relatives with Autism & Related Disabilities, Inc. (FORWARD, Inc.)

The mission of FORWARD, Inc. is to build affordable, supportive housing that enables adults with autism and related disabilities to thrive in an appropriate, safe and healthy environment. Union was fortunate to work with them to develop FORWARD at the Rock, an eight-bedroom community for adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The housing, located at the heart of Cape Cod, is situated on a peaceful wooded site near Hokum Rock, a local cultural and historical landmark. In addition to the housing, future plans include the creation of public walking trails on the adjacent 10 acres of town-owned property.

Through this project, FORWARD and its partners, the Housing Assistance Corporation and the town of Dennis, have created two homes with affordable housing for community members with ASD. Each individual home has four single bedrooms with private and semi-private bathrooms, common kitchen, living, recreation areas, a small workspace for staff, and a shared courtyard for socializing.

Floor plan
Front entry
A backyard includes raised beds for growing.
Rear porch for resident use.

Designing homes for adults living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) requires a unique and thoughtful approach. It asks the architect to leave preconceived notions of what they think the design will be and listen carefully to understand nuances that will ensure the building will best serve the needs of the residents. Our report, Supportive Housing for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder is a compilation of resources and case studies of Union’s ASD housing work. It presents design considerations, existing models, and methods for evaluating and planning for the needs of adults who live with ASD.

Read the full report