Design programs
From: Becky Weaver (
Date: Thu, 5 Apr 2001 12:01:04 -0600 (MDT)
Hi all,

I am on my community's design committee, and our current mission is to
develop a design program. We're at least a couple of years out from
construction (land in the subdivision we've chosen will go up for sale
sometime after the end of 2002).

We have a couple of architects on our committee. We have decided to hire an
outside architect.

>From what I've been able to glean searching this list's archives, most
groups have created the design program in collaboration with their
architect, in a couple of programming workshops. Due in part to the timing
of our project - we would prefer to only retain an architect after we've
secured our land and can prove financial reliability - we're considering a
different approach.

We are considering developing a thorough program document as a group,
specifying our priorities, needs, budget, etc., then turning this document
over to the architect and requesting him/her to make decisions about
specifics. There will naturally still be plenty of communication between the
group and the designers, but we are hoping this will allow group
participation without danger of micromanagement. According to one of our
architect/committee members, a thoughtfully developed program, followed by
reasonably free rein, can allow an architect to meet the client's needs very
creatively. In other words, we decide what, and the archtect decides how.

Has anybody else used this approach? Does anybody have suggestions or
comments about it?

Some group background - most of our members are experienced (and trained) in
group-process and consensus techniques. We have members experienced in
multifamily residential design, who've studied cohousing extensively but
have not built or lived in coho before. There is no cohousing in our region
yet, though there are some other projects in process.

Thanks in advance for your input!

Becky Weaver
Central Austin Cohousing
(Austin, Texas, where the bluebonnets are blooming and it's shorts weather

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