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Sunday, 05 May 2013 19:47

The Village Community House (1975)

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The 1975 design of the  Rogers' house and barn was quickly followed by another commission for Savirti and Redwood Kroll - a young hippie family with some financial means who ran a small collective, the Village, on the Garcia River further North. Redwood had been a professor of mathematics  at a California university. Savitri (Maggie) was financially independent, and they and their children (Carrot and Moon River) shared their land with local and itinerant individuals who shared their values.
My first project was to get a building permit for their geodesic dome house that the local building inspector had tagged with a demolition order. Their houyse site was only accessible by canoe across the Garcia River, and winter site visits were an adventure, and sometimes dangerous. On one occasion my Engineer friend (from the Woodside Project) Ed Levine showed up with his pregnant wife, Victoria, for an inspection of the house when the river was in flood. Their canoe capsized midstream and we all ended up soaked but very relieved to have them both back on dry land.
Village Dome House  
The working drawings were completed and successfully submitted to the Building Department, and this success was quickly followed by an invitation to design a Community House - a place to be shared by all of the community, numbering about twenty. They were completely committed to sustainability, using solar water heating, growing their own food, operating composting toilets etc. Each of the families living at the Village had its own self-built house. The community House was a place of gathering, of communal cooking, eating, bathing and hanging out. The life of the community revolved around the huge redwood barnstanding on the edge of the river's flood plain and overlooking a large communal garden.
village-barn   village-barn-solar
Village Barn

Site Dedvelopment Plan
There, games, reading, discussions, cooking, eating etc. etc. all took place in this space. Until the Building Inspector condemned it for cooking and eating. So the commuunity were required to build a separate building for their communal food preparation and meals. This was the building I was asked to design. It was important that it had a close and direct relationship with the existing social space of the barn and also with the commmunal garden.
Community House and Barn
It was designed as a pole construction and was built in three weeks.The whole community participated in the design process, using A Pattern Language to which I had introduced them. The cooking and eating facilities are located on the upper level, and the communal bathouse is at the ground level. The whole building faces South-East for maximum solar gain and the buildinmg is constructed entirely of recycled materials except for the structural members.
Building Plans
village-front4  village2
South-Facing Elevation

    village-kitchen  village-dining
Kitchen Area

    village-bathroom2  village3
Communal Bathroom                         Front Entrance





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