Cohousing communities are intentionally resident-led, and in each phase, the resident group’s participation is essential. At the same time, working with knowledgeable experts to guide the process and bring in their understanding of the necessary steps will drive the process forward.
With that in mind, we want to share three insights from architects working on cohousing projects.
Building Together Can Be Complicated, But There’s Help
“Architects are well-placed to act as stewards to help cohousing groups navigate.”
– Shubhanaga Simpson, architect
When dozens of people come together to plan shared spaces, aesthetics, experiences, etc. things can get hairy. But that’s where experts from throughout the cohousing space can be helpful and supportive. Be sure to check out the resources here on the blog or on our Start Here page for more inspiration.
Spaces Should Be Designed to Bring People Together
“There’s been so much emphasis on independence and on privacy that we really designed community right out of our lives without knowing it.”
– Katie McCamant, architect
Source: Fast Company
In contrast to mcmansions and fenced off single houses, cohousing communities are centered around shared spaces. Well designed spaces that foster gathering, fun, and engagement between residents are essential and reflective of the communities that designed them. Will your community have multimedia spaces, shared kitchens, and/or shared dance studios? What does your community want to do together?
The Human Element is Key
“Through the careful selection of furniture, lighting and acoustic materials to support eating together; in the careful visual location and visual access to kids' play areas around and inside the common house; in the consideration of scale and distribution of social gathering nodes in and around the community to support our daily lives, all of these spaces help contribute to and elevate the sense of communitas in each community.”
– Grace Kim, architect
Source: TED Talk
So many details go into nurturing a sense of place and of home. Understanding the ways in which your residents will live, play, and work within the shared space will create the framework for your consultants and architects to address your unique community.
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Want more information? Contact us. Cohousing Opportunities Group and Lynn Gaffney Architect work in collaboration with the residents—educating, gather, facilitation, researching, designing, presenting, and bringing in consultants and developers. There is a lot to do; let us provide guidance and expertise.