182_Sarah Wu Martinez: Co-Housing Architecture, An Urban Village

Sarah Wu Martinez

McGill Architecture
Co-Housing Architecture: An urban village

In pursuing the answer to a simple, yet loaded question, “How can housing challenge the way we live in cities?”, Co-Housing Architecture investigates how architecture can become a catalyst in building communities and inspire human interactions of different scales.  
Co-housing, a Danish housing model whose dwellers own their units and share community spaces, has sporadically mushroomed across North American suburbia since the 80’s. These communities, whose relentless internal negotiations eventually crystallize into architecture, remain quite marginal. Their houses usually blend with its surrounding suburban-scape, while their lifestyles have led to a rich network of relationships – unlike its counterpart, the nuclear family.  

However, the co-housing footprint is rarely seen in cities. Co-Housing Architecture confronts this reality at a large and dense scale, and sets the stage for a group of diverse urban individuals and families to grow into a community. In doing so, inevitably, it begs the questions: “What makes a community, and how can architecture play an active role in its development?” In designing around these questions, we can begin to mold an environment where meaningful interactions and social cohesion can take place. Co-Housing Architecture brings these concerns at the forefront. While mindfully attentive of the scales of communities, new and existing, it yields a home like no other.