>co housing: a study of interdependency


This project was a culmination of my 9 month study tour in Copenhagen, were I studied co-housing, and a the completion of a 5 year Architecture degree from Cal Poly.

The intent of the project was to challenge social boundaries by providing varying levels of private and public space thereby enhancing social interactions, to be 100% off grid, and to provide at least 60% of the residents’ food on site.

The project is located in Sonora California, approximately 3 hours east of San Francisco. This site is currently functioning as a bed and breakfast, with existing building shown to the right in the darker finish.

The existing main house was repurposed as the common house, the lower barn as a facilities for the farmers, and the cottage to the right of the barn as a teen retreat.


The new structures include northwest cluster, northeast cluster, south cluster and a place for the living machine off the common house.

The materials chosen for both energy efficiency and sustainability. We used straw bale construction for the lower and ground floors and Agriboard for the upper floors. Nanawalls were used extensively to connect the units with their natural surroundings, and encourage social interactions through a glass or open wall system.

The Northwest Cluster:

The largest of the three clusters nestles into the earth reflecting our dependency on the earth and the comfort it provides. The cluster consists of 7 units: 1 studio, 5- 1bedroom+ den, and 1- 2 bedroom units.

The Northeast Cluster:

This cluster sits highest on the hill and therefore required the least amount of excavation of the site. The cluster consists of 5 units: 2 studios, 2- 1bedroom+ den, and 1- 2 bedroom unit. This is also the cluster I chose analyze for energy efficiency. For more information on the energy consuption and production of this cluster, visit energy sustainability.

The Southern Cluster:

The proximity to the main house and parking lot made the Southern Cluster the perfect place for the accessible unit. The cluster consists of 5 units: 1 studios, 3- 1bedroom+ den, and 1- 2 bedroom unit.

To view the complete project book

Or to find out more on co housing or energy conservation visit




About ecocentricdesign

I am a designer/architect with a passion for the environment
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