Berkeley Co-Housing

Berkeley, California

This project created a 14-unit urban community by adding a common house and six new units to an existing eight unit group, which were rehabilitated and modernized in tandem with building the new structures.

The site evolved from a family farm dating back to the early 1900’s. Over the years, several small houses were moved to the property. Later different cohousing groups and developers competed for the property. Our clients eventually acquired the property in 1994, lived in it as a cooperative, and formed a cohousing group. Their committed group supported each other through a long development process and was an inspiration to work with.

The design is responsive to the organic yet coherent style that had been established over time on the site—a delicate juxtaposition of craftsman style, clapboard style, and Spanish stucco style.

All the units were designed for environmental responsibility using passive and active solar heating, grey water re-use, sustainable growth timber, low-toxicity and recycled materials, and permaculture landscape principles.

Alexandra Saikley gained a great appreciation for the principles and clear benefits to people’s lives brought about by cohousing, and has high respect for the work that Berkeley architect McCamant & Durrett have done to make cohousing feasible in the United States.

Alexandra Sheets Saikley was project architect with architect in Berkeley McCamant & Durrett Architects/The Cohousing Company.