When it comes to cohousing ... our friends across The Pond in Germany (and Great Britain) have arrived! In Berlin, the architecture firm Zanderroth Architekten has 1 0 cohousing communities either completed or in the works.
Their cb19 apartment complex is built without interior load bearing walls. This allowed the 27 owners to custom design their own homes. While most owners chose a traditional 2 or 3 bedroom floor plan, three owners created "maisonettes" by combining apartments across two levels. One owner combined four apartments on the top floor creating a two-story penthouse.
But let's not miss the real story here: the emphasis this design firm has put on cohousing as part of its business model as well as the support it gives the members in forming and developing their cohousing community. In addition to its standard architectural offerings, cohousing plays a big role in the architecture firm.
The future owners formed a company to finance the construction. Unclear how much if any funding for pre-construction was raised by the group. Details on how the development was constructed financially are not readily available. The cost of construction ran about $160-200 s/f (if I calculated the conversion from pounds sterling to US dollars and square meters to square foot correctly. Fingers crossed!)
Read all about this innovation on the cohousing design process in DEZEEN MAGAZINE.
Recently, a film crew from Voice of America’s Chinese programming paid a visit to Takoma Village Cohousing in northwest, Washington, DC. The two person crew created one of the best videos on cohousing available! In eight minutes, the video absolutely captures the very essence of why, in the face of all the challenges, we pursue cohousing. Often so difficult to describe, the video illuminates the deep yearning people have to be connected to others. Even with a lot of sturm and drang many of us say we’d rather be in cohousing than “out there.”
Often seen as a very white, middle class endeavor, this video also captures the diversity of adults and children that make our communities work so well.
Of course … the kids stole the show. What’s that old Hollywood saying? Never be in a scene with a child or an animal … you will always be upstaged! A honor to be so upstaged!
You can see the video on the Chinese version of Youtube.
(Guess what? They have ads, too! You won’t need sub-titles for these!)
Before you start commenting on the lack of landscaping … this video was shot in early April. It was well below 10 degrees in average temperatures. Three weeks later, once the video was completed … all the plants and spring flowers had burst forth and the landscaping was, once again, lush. Come visit Takoma Village and see for yourself!
Takoma Village is a collaboration between the professionals of Eco Housing Corporation, EDG Architects and the future residents, now neighbors, of Takoma Village Cohousing.
Please do pass the video along to others. It would be helpful to know where you post it. Please leave a comment.
In the meantime … what draws you to living in community? Why do it?
Ann Zabaldo is a passionate promoter of cohousing. She was on the develoment team for Eastern Village in Silver Spring, MD and Takoma Village in Washington, DC where she lives. She serves on the Board for MAC.
See cool blog for Emerson Commons.