A client with a clear vision and secluded wooded plot of land in Buxton, Maine came to us with a desire to create a sustainable cohousing community of 20 private dwellings plus extensive shared amenities including a common house. Residents were to be involved in the development of the community so that it would clearly reflect their priorities. An organic form and complete independence from fossil fuels was requested with the hopes of achieving a LEED Platinum rating.
The program is divided into 5 buildings - each representing one of two different building types, and each with 4 units - plus a common house. A central "greensward" is shared by all residents with each units' main living area facing out into this space, encouraging interaction. Dynamic lines and asymmetric swoops characterize the rooflines and trellises, giving directionality and whimsy to each building while managing to maintain a simple and flexible footprint. Multiple sustainability strategies respond to the community's desire to be a model of sustainable, fossil fuel free living.
Many of the materials chosen for this community are made from recycled content, are environmentally friendly and come from local sources.
Selected plumbing fixtures use significantly less water than typical fixtures. Rain barrel colelctors for irrigation use were a key part of their landscape plan.
This project was designed to employ strategies such as insulated concrete forms with reduced thermal bridging construction, higher-performing windows and doors, and air-tight construction, along with reliable ventilation strategies, to increase comfort, reduce the size of the mechanical system, and significantly reduce heating and cooling costs.
This project was designed to employ renewable energy technology in order to reduce energy costs, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and decrease its carbon footprint. These technologies included solar tubes for domestic hot water and heat, photovoltaic panels for solar electric, and geothermal wells.