Re:community design
From: Graham Meltzer (
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 94 16:43 CST
Rob Sandelin writes

>One of the key points of design in cohousing  is cost.  I have yet to 
>learn of a cohousing community that didn't have financial constraints. 

>Cost drives most projects and requires tradeoffs.  What is important is 
>that groups make that clear from the beginning so if the architects 
>have any savvy at all, they will use things like standard framing wood 
>lengths, standard roof trusses, stacked plumbing and other cost saving 
>design features.  The group should not have to think of all these 
>things themselves, but be able to rely on the professionals expertise 
>on how to cut costs.


I have yet to learn of any (contemporary) architectural project, whether it
be cohousing, housing or anything else, that did not have financial
constraints. It's human, (as well as institutional and corporate) nature to
want for more than can be afforded. Architects invariably have to massage
clients' wish lists so as to relate them to the budget. Having done that,
they will do everything possible to stretch the budget to satisfy and
hopefully augment the list.

Almost all design decisions have consequences for cost. Every time and
architect (with any savy as you say), draws a line, he/she will consider the
cost consequences. Invariably choices revolve around such building
pragmatics as framing lengths and stacked plumbing ... although, everything
else being equal, the biggest savings by far, (both in capital and lifecycle
costings), come from limiting areas and volumes. I agree that a cohousing
group should not have to think of these things themselves. Such
considerations are part of an architect's tools of trade. 

I wouldn't deny that some architects, sometimes get blinded to cost
consequences by their concepts. I just hate to see that sort of occurence
being represented as the modus operandi of architects genrally.

Graham Meltzer

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