Greyrock Commons, one of Colorado’s first cohousing communities inspired by the Scandinavian model, is located on 16 acres just outside of Fort Collins, Colorado. Greyrock is composed of a diverse group of 30 households, each maintaining an independent residence with some private outdoor space while sharing common amenities such as a common house and green, playground, gardens, orchard, and open space.
- Design Process
- The community uses a consensus-based decision-making process. The interactive design process proposed by the Architects worked well with this collaborative approach. During programming sessions facilitated by the design team, hands-on manipulable props were used, as the Architects led the group in playing with design options using paint dropcloths and shoeboxes to represent community areas and structures.
- Project Description
- The density of the community allowed the inhabitants to dedicate 10 full acres out of the 16 to open space including walking paths, vegetable gardens, a large playing field, and habitat for both domesticated animals and wildlife. 30 energy-efficient townhomes are clustered on the remaining 6 acres, with automobiles limited to the perimeter, and front doors facing the common green space. This arrangement has provided a safe community environment within which parents have been comfortable allowing children the freedom to come and go from one house to another without constant supervision.
- The Common House
- At the heart of this pedestrian-friendly layout is a 4200 sf Common House. Within the Common House is a shared kitchen, pantry and dining area that the community uses for shared meals and celebrations. The dining area doubles as a large gathering space that can also be used for community meetings, dances, or concerts. Smaller rooms provide space for more intimate meetings, classes, and youth activities. There are also common laundry facilities and guest quarters. The Common House terrace overlooks the playground, common green, and the walkable pathways that connect the community’s duplexes, triplexes, and quadraplexes. The Common House is characterized by ease of circulation and generous natural lighting. Special was also given to its acoustical qualities. The community’s dedication to sustainability is reflected in the materials selection, and in the implementation of passive solar principles such as site orientation with consideration for daylighting and energy conservation. This community has functioned successfully for over 20 years. This is due to both the dedication and consensus-building ethic of its inhabitants, and also to the thoughtful care that went into designing an environment that would promote convivial living through respecting individual needs while creating inviting spaces that promote comfortable and positive interpersonal interactions.