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Cohousing as a concept is a way of living based around sharing. It includes the sharing of common facilities along with the shared aims, ideas of living and activities.

The planning of any cohousing scheme usually begins with the placement of the core areas that is the common house, community gardens and other shared spaces. The living units are either clustered around the individual communal facilities or one large common house surrounded by dwellings, caters to the need of all the joint facilities.

Planning example

Cambridge K1, Orchard Park, Cambridge


Site Plan, Cambridge K1 cohousing

Cambridge K1 is a cohousing scheme that is located in the modern neighborhood of Orchard Park, north of Cambridge City Centre. The master plan reflects the consideration of the square site and was also influenced by the existence of oak trees on site. The community gardens and gardening allotments are located in the central part of the scheme and the communal house opens out to this green open space. Two of the site edges are screened by the provision of car parks and act as a buffer for the cohousing units.


Forge bank, Lancaster Cohousing


Site Plan, Forgebank Lancaster cohousing

The Lancaster cohousing is situated on the banks of the Lune river and has a very linear site. The plot has a river edge along one of its longer ends. This provides the site with a riverside view. The linearity of site leaves the site with lesser area for large open spaces which resulted in a more hard landscape rather than soft green park areas.

The communal house is centrally located in the site along with other collective facilities like laundry, guest rooms, food storage and the kids play room. The houses are relatively smaller in size as a large number of activities and rooms are shared and provided for communally at the common house.


Bristol Village Choosing, Bristol

Site Plan, Bristol Village Cohousing

In the case of the Bristol Village cohousing, planning of units is done around a large open green space and the communal hall is separately placed. The location of the common house in this cohousing scheme seems to have been influenced by the existing large Italianate-style house on site which was built in 1863 and has distinct preserved features. The planning involved using this historic structure as a communal room with shared kitchen, guest rooms and kids play room. The existing Tomasi house that was built in 1810 is converted into a duplex. The presence of an existing structure for the common house probably led to the central part of the site in being a large connecting communal garden.

Design exploration process

Thus, the core feature of planning a cohousing scheme is hierarchy of placement of its communal areas that form an essential part of the cohousing community.

References :

1.”White Design :: Bristol Co-Housing”. Web. 11 Mar. 2017.

2. “Design Boards From Townhus – Cambridge K1”. Web. 6 Mar. 2017.

3. “Lancaster Cohousing: Project”. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.

4. “Home”. Bristol Village Cohousing. Web. 12 Mar. 2017.

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School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

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