(Photograph is Germantown Commons, Nashville, TN. Architecture by good friend Bryan Bowen)
Being a “cohousing architect” Is especially rewarding during the bi-annual conference hosted by the Cohousing Association of The US (CohoUS).
It’s fun to share some of the knowledge that I’ve built up over the years. This is information that others who want to build cohousing communities are seeking, so it is relevant and I feel appreciated! I especially like leading hands-on design workshops. In the past I have focused on site design; this year I facilitated a half day session on common house design. One attendee brought the plans of an existing retreat center that he is purchasing with the intent of transforming some of it into cohousing. What is often an abstract design exercise became one of testing an actual building for the renovation of the ground floor into the common house.
Having visited nearly 50 cohousing communities, I especially enjoyed giving the introduction talk “Cohousing 101”. I like to show newcomers that cohousing does not represent a single solution, but is very diverse in its response to site and resident age and size. Established communities include everything from 1/2 acre urban sites to 200 acre sites with multiple communities and farms.
This year’s conference was in Nashville Tennessee. The town is booming with new growth, but I chose to spend most of my free time enjoying live bluegrass music, rather than making any architectural or museum tours. Nashville is the home to a brand new, beautiful, cohousing community – Germantown Commons! Hopefully, Tennessee will see other cohousing communities follow in their footsteps.