Mary Kraus, Architect

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Mary Kraus, Architect
Participatory Design Process Consulting

Making decisions in a group can be challenging. A compassionate, skilled facilitator makes all the difference, holding a safe space in which participants feel supported to speak their truth. Active listening builds community and connection while embracing diverse views. From there emerge satisfying solutions that integrate the varied needs of all participants.

Beginning in 1990 with the first cohousing community in the eastern US, I have helped dozens of cohousing groups across North America come together in a supportive atmosphere to define their visions, design their communities, and develop systems after they move in. Over the years, and with mutual inspiration from other community professionals, I have developed a rewarding participatory process that helps groups come to decisions efficiently, effectively, and joyously.

I bring a particular sensitivity to a group’s needs, which comes from decades of facilitating cohousing workshops and discussions, as well as from my own experience as a cohousing resident. Past clients have attested to my capacity for holding the group and helping each person feel heard, all while moving the agenda forward to satisfy the overarching goals.


• Participatory design workshops

• Site programming and design
• Common house programming and design
• Unit programming and design

• Other workshops

• Values
• Vision statement
• Community work systems

• Facilitation of group discussions, decisions, retreats

• Speaking and presentations on cohousing topics for marketing and/or educational purposes

• Consulting to architects and developers


• Cohousing architect since 1991
• Cohousing resident since 1994
• Founding board member, The Cohousing Network (precursor to Coho US), 1998-2001.
• Fluent in French


"I think your facilitation is excellent. You guide, take charge as needed without being heavy handed, really hear and feed back what the group is saying, are flexible on your feet, and blend respect, humor, process, and task. The process is resulting in our growing sense of relationship as a community as well as accomplishing work together."
Member, Village Hill Cohousing

"Your work on Takoma Village was a life saver! I’m still counting my blessings.
Working with you gave the developer, the residents and the other architects the confidence to move forward with this phase of the design."
Ann Zabaldo, Cohousing Coordinator and Consultant


Mary Kraus

mary [at] marykrausarchitect [dot] com