Cohousing & Sustainable Communities
Fitch Architecture and Community Design (FACD) is one of the most respected and experienced cohousing firms in North America. Laura Fitch discovered her interest in cohousing during a trip to Denmark in 1980. She is a resident of Pioneer Valley Cohousing in Amherst, Massachusetts. Her experience as a member helps her to understand the issues facing other cohousing groups, and gives us unique insight into the underlying interpersonal and group dynamics that affect the design process.
Our inside knowledge combined with our professional experience with cohousing architecture creates an especially effective and comprehensive approach.
Cohousing is what Laura has chosen both personally and professionally, and she brings great enthusiasm and inspiration to our work with communities. We offer a consultant team providing the full range of design and development services, from group dynamics and site search through construction. We also recognize that some groups have their own preferred consultants. We are open to working with the consultants of your choice, forming a team to suit the character of your particular group.
In addition to the social issues central to community design, the ecological concerns of sustainability are a primary focus for us. Cohousing groups typically include sustainability as part of their vision statement, and we have helped them to reflect these goals in the built community. Our deep understanding of ecological sustainability can help each group apply these issues to the extent that fits their particular goals.
Meeting Facilitation & Cohousing Design Workshops
FACD offer a facilitated approach and an intimate knowledge of cohousing that sets us apart from the standard architectural practice.
We believe our role as cohousing architects is that of facilitators. Through guided visualization and participatory design workshops, we create an environment in which people can discover and develop their own ideas and aspirations. We help groups to find common ground while celebrating their diverse design preferences. Our approach involves active listening and a deep respect for our clients’ individual needs and character. Our goal is to reach a final design that is a direct reflection and integration of the group’s ideas.
Laura Fitch is nationally recognized for our work in programming and designing of cohousing communities and has fine-tuned a process for efficient group decision making. FACD workshops will be tailored to your community’s goals, timeline and budget, but typically include weekend workshops focusing on:
- Visioning and Mission Statement Crafting
- Eco Programming
- Site Programming and Schematic Design
- Common House Programming and Schematic Design
- Housing Unit Programming and Schematic Design
- Design Development aimed towards completing construction documents
- Getting the Work Done (design of work systems for community management after move in)