Re: higher density cohousing
From: nanderso (
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2006 07:21:46 -0800 (PST)
Dear Lion,

I've been following this discussion and am finding it really interesting.  I 
am currently teaching a third year undergraduate architecture studio at Iowa 
State that is designing a midrise housing project in lower Manhattan.  Because 
I felt it was critical for students to address not just the physical but also 
the social aspects of housing, I decided to format the project as a co-housing 

We have just completed a series of programming, concept, and context 
investigations and are moving into the articulation of structure, plans, etc.  
One of the most important things that has come out of the initial 
investigations is the idea that a typical repetitive floorplan may not work 
well to create a sense of community but that not doing this will create 
planning and building difficulties.  Various ideas have been proposed, one of 
the more interesting being the creation of a hierarchy of community spaces in 
which larger facilities for the entire complex would occur in one location, 
scattered throughout the building, and smaller "neighborhood" spaces would 
occur more frequently.  Also, interspersing exterior terraces and gardens 
seems like a promising strategy that can also incorporate green roof and water 
management sustainable technologies (another studio focus).

One parameter that I did specify for the studio was a maximum of 35 units of 
various configurations.  The site is 100' x 125' and the max. buildable area 
is 62,500 s.f. so the project is smaller than yours.  The site could hold 
about 50 units, so the net-gross ratio is different from a typical condo 
building, assuming the common spaces are included as part of the gross 
calculation.  This might not work from a development point of view but I think 
is critical to the co-housing concept.  Also, combining circulation and common 
spaces works with this.

Please feel free to contact me if you're interested in further discussion,


Nadia M. Anderson
Lecturer, Department of Architecture
Iowa State University
156 College of Design
Ames, Iowa 50011
P: 515-294-0339
E: nanderso [at]

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