Notes From the Field: Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing (Seattle)

[Learn more about Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing at the Aging Better Together Conference, where founder Grace Kim will present Planning Early for the Golden Years: Starting an Intergenerational Community]

Last week, Guy Thomsen and I did a walk-through of Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing (CHUC). Some quick background–this is a mixed use building with ground level commercial space to become Schemata Workshop’s new home and nine residential units above. But don’t be fooled: this isn’t your average four-over-one. Nine families joined together to self-develop CHUC as a vertical, or “stacked,” neighborhood. These families wanted an urban neighborhood that reflects their goals and values. Over the course of eight years, members worked together and, through a participatory process with non-hierarchical structure and decision making, CHUC was born.

The saw dust settled long ago, and now the smell of freshly dried paint, and the low hum of heaters draws you through the spaces. All the units have floor to ceiling windows, but today the familiar views are hidden. The painters have sheathed the windows with craft paper to protect them from any over spray. The color of the paper lends the units a warm glow.

From the exterior CHUC is dressed in its Sunday best. On the 12th Ave elevation, painting and storefront installation are complete.

At Schemata, we’re looking forward to moving into our new home later this spring!

Category: stories from the trenches

Tags: Buildings, Design, Stories

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