Re: Design expertise or local architects
From: NKaten947 (NKaten947aol.com)
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 1999 09:08:54 -0600 (MDT)
Bellingham Cohousing  hired The Cohousing Company - Katie McCamant & Chuck 
Durrett as architects for our project. They have been amazing, both in their 
design work & knowledge of cohousing.  

We started construction in June and as I walk around the site & look at the 
different perspectives that the houses have of the common house & how the 
houses face the gathering nodes- I see how important it is to have knowledge 
of how cohousing works in designing the site & the houses.   We had one man 
in the group with some architect experience and we thought we could do the 
design programming ourselves, but Chuck & Katie put us through programming 
sessions with questions we couldn't have anticipated on our own.  Throughout 
the entire design process they helped us make 100's decisions based on what 
has worked in other cohousing neighborhoods to create community. 

The framing of the common house is close to being completed & we can walk 
into the space - I am awed by what a wonderful space it is.   It is so much 
fun to watch the houses getting their colored siding (we turned over the 
choice of color to Chuck so we wouldn't end up with a group consensus of 
gray) & cedar shakes and  look out the windows onto the gathering nodes. 

One other advantage of hiring cohousing experts is that their knowledge of 
the entire development process can help in areas where you might not 
anticipate it, for example, with the city permitting process.  Katie & Chuck 
have gone far beyond being architects in our project.  They have consulted 
and advised us in many diverse areas - everything from getting city permits 
to a realistic look at what kind of houses we could afford to figuring out a 
development strategy to what kind of space would work for kids.  We started 
our project with a "we can do it ourselves mentality," but I don't know 
anyone in the group who isn't grateful that we got "cohousing experts" to 
help us with our project.

Kate N. Nichols

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