Re: How big is too big
From: Mike Mariano (
Date: Sat, 25 Mar 2017 10:32:03 -0700 (PDT)
> On Mar 24, 2017, at 7:41 AM, William Wood <woodwc [at]> wrote:

> There are surprisingly few truly multi-generational plans out there. Most 
> often something called "multi-generational" just has two master suites, but 
> not much more to help three generations live in harmony.)

Regarding the idea of multi-generational housing, from a design perspective: I 
was first introduced to the concept of cohousing by a visiting Danish professor 
while I was studying in London in 1992. At the end of that same semester, I 
traveled through Europe and had the opportunity to stay in the medieval heart 
of Milan, with the father of a friend's father. The 5-story, mid-1800s building 
had a small footprint (~2,500 square feet), with one apartment per floor, and 
an elevator. Our host was a doctor who lived on the top floor with his family, 
his brother's family had a floor, his mother had a floor, they rented out a 
floor, and his doctor's office was on street level. 
This example in Milan stuck with me, and cohousing became a passion for my 
friend/spouse/business partner, Grace Kim (formerly on the CohoUS board). The 
building in Milan served as initial inspiration for the design of our cohousing 
community, a 5-story apartment building on a small urban infill lot in Seattle. 
For our community, we introduced a small courtyard and open access balconies to 
facilitate the conversation and casual interaction that is afforded by the more 
traditional of cohousing communities lining an interior pedestrian path, with 
the kitchen serving as the front porch, semi-public area of the home.
Similar configurations can likely be found around the globe, at different 
scales and levels of intimacy gradient. In the Milan example for one family, it 
worked amazingly well to provide for personal space, privacy, social 
interaction, a range of support, and aging in place. I will say that the model 
is also working well for the 27 residents, across 9 families in our cohousing 

Mike Mariano
where we're getting an earlier start on planting our rooftop farm as we move 
into our second growing season in the building.

michael mariano aia | schemata workshop, inc.
principal & architect
p 206.285.1589   c 206.419.9122

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.