Re: marketing Aria Cohousing in Denver to families
From: R Philip Dowds (
Date: Sun, 2 Oct 2016 02:26:03 -0700 (PDT)
Hello Mabel —

Yes, in a four story apartment building, there may be an apparent benefit in 
making single units out of floors three and four, combined via an internal unit 
stair.  This eliminates not just one elevator stop, but also egress stairs and 
corridors for the top floor.  So at the fourth floor, “unsellable” common space 
paid for by all gets converted to “sellable" condo floor area.  Is this a plus? 
 Maybe for the community — although the expense and nuisance of interior 
vertical circulation then gets transferred from the community to the dwelling 

And Yes, I know that the finalized architectural design had to comply with a 
building footprint that got jammed up in an approval process.  Even so, I’ve 
never quite followed why there is a two-story unit accessed from the first 
floor, and two two-story units, from the second.  I do know that our current 
1000 sq ft single level apartment works much better than our former single 
family house, which was 1500 sq ft with a winder to the second level.

Philip Dowds
Cornerstone Village Cohousing
Cambridge, MA

PS: And thank you for being such a quiet overhead neighbor.

> On Oct 2, 2016, at 3:14 AM, Mabel Liang <mabel [at]> wrote:
> Hi Phil (who lives downstairs from us!), 
> I don't pretend to understand, but we had wanted our 3+ bedroom
> apartment to be all on one level, and the architect told us he couldn't
> do it within the constraints of the footprint (which was already
> pre-ordained for him by the previous plans filed with the city).   
> I think part of it has to do with the fact that with our commitment to
> visitability (see, we were putting either
> an elevator or a lift in both of our apartment buildings.  By having the
> second floor of apartments be reachable only within the apartments, it
> means that the 4-story building only needed an elevator to go to the 3rd
> floor, and the 3-story building only needed a lift to go between the 1st
> and 2nd floors.  Thus saving money.
> -- Mabel :-)
> mabel [at]
> Mabel Liang
> Software Engineer turned Gardener
> Cornerstone Village Cohousing
> Cambridge, MA
> On 2016-10-01 06:52, R Philip Dowds wrote:
>> Actually, there is a lot of construction technology available for effective 
>> noise mitigation.  For instance, in wood frame construction, there is the 
>> option of including a subfloor of 1" or 1 1/2" thick "Gyp Crete" or 
>> "cementitious underlayment".  Combine this with a ceiling hung on resilient 
>> clips (not nailed direct to the floor structure), and acoustic isolation 
>> between units gets pretty good.  "Extra" cost is the main reason why this 
>> very routine technology gets squeezed out of the project construction budget.
>> The building I live in is an elevatored, four story wood frame construction 
>> with the usual common egress stairs.  But the unit layouts feature a number 
>> of un-flats:  larger apartments divided into two stories with an internal 
>> stair.  Frankly, I've never much understood this approach:  The additional 
>> unit stairs consume space and add cost, and make much of the apartment 
>> inaccessible to the mobility-impaired.  In my opinion, the identical floor 
>> areas would be more useful if kept in the flat-over-flat format.  With 
>> proper sound isolation, of course.  Eliminating the internal stairs could go 
>> a long way to paying for the Gyp Crete.
>> Thanks,
>> Philip Dowds
>> Cornerstone Village Cohousing
>> Cambridge, MA
>>> On Sep 29, 2016, at 5:39 PM, Beverly Jones Redekop <beverly.jones.redekop 
>>> [at]> wrote:
>>> 3.  AVOID STACKED FLATS AT ALL COSTS!  Our ugliest conflicts have been the
>>> result of larger units (1440 s.f. with three bedrooms) stacked above
>>> smaller units (1000 s.f. two bedrooms).  Families live above empty-nesters,
>>> and our side-to-side soundproofing works great, but the above & below
>>> doesn't work much at all.  Noise leads to short tempers and nasty
>>> comments.  It would have been so much better to have these units side by
>>> side as stacked personal homes (the 1000 s.f. as 500 down and 500 up; the
>>> 1440 as 720 down and 720 up).  If you must have a few 1000 s.f. units all
>>> on one level for accessibility, put a unit that is severely skewed towards
>>> child-free households above, such as a tiny studio or one bedroom...or
>>> common house storage or something.  You will be tempted to stack units to
>>> save money, but it is the worst possible disaster you could ever inflict
>>> upon yourselves....and aren't personal interior staircases cheaper than
>>> public exterior staircases anyhow?
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