Re: Common house design, rooms, and room sizes?
From: Chris ScottHanson (cscotthansonmac.com)
Date: Wed, 4 Feb 2015 11:06:31 -0800 (PST)
Douglas,

I have 3 recommendations…

1. Design for flexibility.  Don’t assume things will always be used the way you 
think they might be used now, or when you move in. Understand that needs change 
over time, expectation are often wrong, or slightly off base.  

2. Design to encourage community.  Make the common house an attractive place to 
be, easy to see, easy to see into, comfortable and warm.  Make it THE place to 
go when the wind or snow knocks the power out.  eg: a fireplace, off grid 
heating and lighting systems, etc.  

3. Trust Mary Kraus and Laura Fitch.  They are VERY good at what they do.  If 
you were using inexperienced “non-cohousing” architects I would suggest paying 
your design team to do what’s called a “Post Occupancy Evaluation” of an 
existing cohousing common house in another community.  Mary and Laura do not 
need to do that for obvious reasons. Listen to them and trust their judgement.

 
Chris ScottHanson
Urban Cohousing Associates, Inc. <http://www.urbancohousingassociates.com/>
Land Acquisition, Development Consulting & Project Management
Ecovillages, Cohousing & Sustainable Communities

Fifth Street Commons <http://fifthstreetcommons.com/>
PO Box 1288
Langley, WA  98260 

(206) 601-7802 cell

Author of:  The Cohousing Handbook - BUILDING A PLACE FOR COMMUNITY
Available from Amazon.com new, used and as an eBook.

> On Feb 4, 2015, at 4:35 AM, Douglas McCarroll <list.cohousing-l.001 [at] 
> brightworks.com> wrote:
> 
> 
> Hi All,
> 
> We (http://villagehillcohousing.org) are in the process of refining our
> common house design, trying to find the right balance between usability and
> affordability. On the one hand we'd like to have a common house that meets
> all of our community's needs. On the other hand we need to conserve
> expenses wherever we can in order to make our community affordable to a
> diverse group of people.
> 
> Your input would be helpful on the questions below. This is a rather long
> list. Please don't feel that you need to answer all these questions -
> instead we suggest that you use your judgment as to which to answer, taking
> into account a) how much time you have available, and b) what info you
> think might be most helpful to our group and other groups who are in the
> process of planning a common house.
> 
> Thanks!
> 
> Your friends at the currently a'bornin' Village Hill Cohousing  :)
> 
> 
> How many households do you have in your community?
> 
> 
> Does your common house have a dedicated "kids room" for younger children?
> 
> If so, how large is it?
> 
> Do you wish it was larger? Feel it could have been smaller? Is it just
> about right?
> 
> What works well (or not) to make this room attractive to kids?
> 
> Other comments?
> 
> 
> Does your common house have a "noisy activities" room (for ping pong or
> similar activities)?
> 
> If so, how large is it?
> 
> Do you wish it was larger? Feel it could have been smaller? Is it just
> about right?
> 
> What is it used for?
> 
> How much is it used?
> 
> Other comments?
> 
> 
> Does your common house have a dedicated "teens room", or a room where teens
> tend to congregate?
> 
> Is this the "noisy activities" room? (If so, you can skip the next four
> questions.)
> 
> If so, how large is it?
> 
> Do you wish it was larger? Feel it could have been smaller? Is it just
> about right?
> 
> What is it used for?
> 
> How much is it used?
> 
> What works well (or not) to make this room attractive to teens?
> 
> Other comments?
> 
> 
> Does your common house have one or more guest rooms?
> 
> If so, how many, and how large are they?
> 
> Do you wish you had more guest rooms? Feel that you could have made do with
> fewer?
> 
> Do you wish that it/they were larger? Feel that they could have been
> smaller? Are they just about right?
> 
> How often are guest rooms used? If your registration log exists in some
> easy-to-access electronic form, might you be willing to share it? (My email
> is douglascoho <at> brightworks.com.) If not, a rough "percentage of nights
> occupied" figure would be helpful.
> 
> Other comments?
> 
> 
> Does your common house have a "living room", i.e. a quiet room with couches
> etc. suitable for small groups?
> 
> If so, how large is it?
> 
> Do you wish it was larger? Feel it could have been smaller? Is it just
> about right?
> 
> Other comments?
> 
> 
> Does your common house have an exercise room (with a treadmill etc.)?
> 
> If so, how large is it?
> 
> Do you wish it was larger? Feel it could have been smaller? Is it just
> about right?
> 
> Other comments?
> 
> 
> Finally, do you have any thoughts that you'd like to offer regarding what
> changes you might make to your common house if you were able to go back and
> redesign it?
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> 
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