Cohousing & Sustainable Communities

Kraus-Fitch Architects are some of the most respected and experienced cohousing architects in North America. Mary Kraus has been working with cohousing groups since 1990; Laura Fitch discovered her interest in cohousing during a trip to Denmark in 1980. We are both residents of Pioneer Valley Cohousing in Amherst, Massachusetts. Our experience as members helps us to understand the issues facing other cohousing groups, and gives us unique insight into the underlying interpersonal and group dynamics that affect the design process.

Our inside knowledge combined with our professional experience with cohousing architecture creates an especially effective and comprehensive approach.

Cohousing is what we have chosen both personally and professionally, and we bring great enthusiasm and inspiration to our work with communities. We offer a consultant team providing the full range of design and development services, from group dynamics and site search through construction. We also recognize that some groups have their own preferred consultants. We are open to working with the consultants of your choice, forming a team to suit the character of your particular group.

In addition to the social issues central to community design, the ecological concerns of sustainability are a primary focus for us. Many cohousing groups include sustainability as part of their vision statement, and we have helped them to reflect these goals in the built community. Our deep understanding of ecological sustainability can help each group apply these issues to the extent that fits their particular goals.

Meeting Facilitation & Cohousing Design Workshops

Kraus-Fitch Architects offers a facilitated approach and an intimate knowledge of cohousing that sets us apart from the standard architectural practice.

We believe our role as cohousing architects is that of facilitators. Through guided visualization and participatory design workshops, we create an environment in which people can discover and develop their own ideas and aspirations. We help groups to find common ground while celebrating their diverse design preferences. Our approach involves active listening and a deep respect for our clients’ individual needs and character. Our goal is to reach a final design that is a direct reflection and integration of the group’s ideas.

Kraus-Fitch Architects is nationally recognized for our work in programming and designing of cohousing communities. We often collaborate with cohousing expert and development consultant Chris ScottHanson, and our workshops are custom designed to mesh with Cohousing Resources’ “streamlined development process”. Our workshops will be tailored to your community’s goals, timeline and budget, but typically include one-to three-day workshops focusing on:
• Visioning and Mission Statement Crafting
• Eco Programming
• Site Programming and Schematic Design
• Common House Programming and Schematic Design
• Housing Unit Programming and Schematic Design
• Getting the Work Done (design of work systems for community management after move in)

To learn more about cohousing, look over our Slideshows or White Papers

a Sandbox Tree Coursives
Common House 2

To learn more about specific cohousing projects, click on the images above.