Nowadays, housing has become a major crisis in most part of the world. Cohousing is a real alternative to housing solution and a better solution for the housing crisis. In this blog, I will discuss some of the learnings of cohousing, its benefits and how I used these learnings to develop my own scheme of cohousing in semester 2.
Cohousing is a self-build community-led housing where residents design as per their needs. Wikipedia defines cohousing as:
“An intentional community of private homes clustered around shared space. Each attached or single family home has traditional amenities, including a private kitchen. Shared spaces typically feature a common house, which may include a large kitchen and dining area, laundry, and recreational spaces. Shared outdoor space may include parking, walkways, open space, and gardens. Neighbours also share resources like tools and lawnmowers.”
Figure 1 – Cohousing Design
Cohousing community consists of 15 to 35 individual dwelling units clustered around a common house which helps in encouraging social interaction among the residents. Mostly common house includes facilities such as shared kitchen, dining hall, meeting rooms, games room and laundries. Although each unit has a sense of privacy and security but at the same time they are socially active in the society also.
Benefits of Cohousing
- Stronger social connection among the residents.
- Opportunity of having bigger open spaces.
- Shared maintenance cost
- Reduces energy cost, thereby creating a sustainable development.
- More social control
Case studies used for design development
The first case study that I found useful for my design development was the Cambridge K1 cohousing located in the city centre of Cambridge. The community garden and garden allotments are centrally placed in the site and the common house opens up to these garden spaces. The car parking was placed on the periphery of two sides of the site acting as buffer for cohousing scheme.
Figure 2 – Master plan of K1 Cohousing
The second case study that influenced me was the Lancaster cohousing located on the bank of banks of the Lune River and has a very linear site. The site provides the riverside view with lesser area for large open space and more hard landscape rather than soft green park areas. The size of the dwellings were kept smaller as most of the activities were shared and provided in the common house.
Figure 3 – Master Plan of Lancaster cohousing
Figure 4 – Master Plan of my cohousing design
Using the basic principles of cohousing, I started designing the scheme with a centrally placed common house and the dwelling units clustered around it so as to promote social interaction among the residents. All the dwelling units were placed in such a way that their front faces the streets and back towards the open shared space. The scheme also promotes the pedestrian movement by placing car parking on the street and thereby promoting walking throughout the open shared space.
- UK Cohousing Network. (2019). About Cohousing – UK Cohousing Network. [online] Available at: https://cohousing.org.uk/about/about-cohousing/ [Accessed 20 May 2019].
- Cambridge-k1.co.uk. (2019). Cambridge K1 – Cohousing in North Cambridge. [online] Available at: http://www.cambridge-k1.co.uk/ [Accessed 20 May 2019].
- Reshaped, N.D. Lancaster Cohousing Ecohomes. [Online] Available at: http://reshaped.uk.com/wordpress/portfolio/lancaster-cohousing-ecohomes/
[Accessed 20 May 2019].
- (2019). Cohousing: the future of living?. [online] Available at: https://medium.com/when-the-bao-breaks/co-housing-the-future-of-living-c2a4368a9ede [Accessed 20 May 2019].
- The Landlord Law Blog. (2019). The Housing Crisis: Co-housing – The Landlord Law Blog. [online] Available at: https://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/2018/01/17/housing-crisis-co-housing/ [Accessed 20 May 2019].