Hillside Commons : a cohousing development

Thumbnail Image
Torres, Constance S.
Wyman, John E.
Issue Date
Thesis (B. Arch.)
College of Architecture and Planning
Other Identifiers

Hillside Commons : a cohousing development The focus of this thesis centers on the role of the designer in a cohousing project. Facilitator, orchestrator, and mediator are all roles the designer must accept as a professional within the participatory design process. A desired site, potential applicable codes, and the global, regional, and local environment, present tangible resources for the early stages of design. The most important resource remains intangible and that is the users themselves. Their ideas and or definitions for community along with their feelings about privacy combined with existing or desired routines make listening the most important tool available to the designer. The focus of all concerned aims at developing a cohesive intentional community design.Facilitation is achieved by listening to the needs and concerns and translating them into ideas. Success of the participatory design process depends on the dynamics of group communication before it can be realized in three-dimensional form. Mediation between group members initiates the designer into the process. The succeeding development of a preliminary program marks the first phase of the process for the designer.Phase two for the designer is marked by the purchase of the site. Theory for passive solar design can be given real numbers. Code compliance no longer has to be second guessed. The orchestration of actual site analysis and code compliance can now be combined with the preliminary program.The combination of phase I and Phase 11 will eventually bring both the designer and the cohousing group into the final phase of the design process. When the final design phase begins all users need to understand the constraints and allowances of the site and the general conditions of the preliminary program. Once agreed to, physical design issues are less tedious and more accessible. Arriving at a group consensus on the final design acknowledges the efforts of all involved. The design consultant's job may continue with construction documentation but the participatory design process works efficiently and effectively, more often than not, where professional consultation assists the process.