We seek to create homes and communities that are beautiful, sustainable, long-lasting, vibrant, and alive. We believe such places will have a meaningful effect on the people who live in them.
The communities we aim to create are more reminiscent of ecovillages than modern neighborhoods. We aim for them to be car-free or car-light, with ample shared space, and with human-scale institutions within walking distance of every home. We aim to identify deep human needs — for example: friendship, health, and meaningful work — and support these needs through patterns in the built environment — for example: a central park, a co-working space, a Montessori preschool, a community garden, an organic corner grocery store. We are inspired here by the patterns outlined in A Pattern Language.
We recognize that a community is not just a series of buildings, but also a network of people; therefore it needs not only physical infrastructure, but also social infrastructure to support it. For example, the creation of a corner grocery co-op or a coworking space requires not just a building that meets code, but also a governance structure, a board of directors, a set of bylaws, a set of suppliers, a membership group, etc. We work with the initial community members to help establish these social patterns, and then turn them over to the community to evolve. We see this work as equally important to our mission as the buildings themselves.
While we build individual homes and communities, we are also interested in towns and cities. Therefore, we aim to situate communities so that they relate to one another and to other points in the city — through proximity, bike lanes, or public transit. By doing so, we increase the livability of the communities we help to create as well as the cities in which they exist.
When we build communities, we remain long-term investors in their success. While homes are individually owned, the common spaces are communally owned through vehicles in which we maintain a stake. This financial structure gives us an ongoing interest in the communities we initiate, and rewards continued investment therein.
Architecturally, we are inspired by the philosophy of Christopher Alexander, as expressed through such classic texts as The Timeless Way of Building, A Pattern Language, and The Nature of Order. In each place where we build, we study the traditional vernacular that existed in the community before 1950, prior to the mass-production of housing.
We value the qualities of humility, elegant simplicity, honesty of materials, beautiful aging, and revealing the mark of the maker. We often ask the question, “what would a farmer do?” Our belief is that the best possible future involves a deep integration of the timeless past.
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