A cohousing community of 24-30 small footprint homes, a Commonhouse, gardens…

Set close to the centre of Castlemaine (2.5km from the train station)…

View from SE corner showing the existing house and shedding.

What will it look like?

We are just beginning to work with an architectural firm to answer that question. WINC set out its aims and ideals in a design brief and now we await the creative response to that. Here are some points from the brief to give you a sense of the possibilities….

  • Living in small, self-contained dwellings, residents will share communal spaces centred around a commonhouse. The development will be reminiscent of a village. The design, including the layout, paths of circulation, and human scale details will be such that residents and visitors will frequently cross paths and have spaces to meet both formally and informally.
  • The dwellings would range in size and type from a small 1-bedroom (50m2), to a more spacious 1-bedroom unit (65m2) and a 2-bedroom unit (80m2). These sizes are indicative only. Ideally the community would comprise between 24 and 30 dwellings and a commonhouse with dining area, a lounge area, large kitchen, 2 guest rooms with ensuites, a shared laundry, a place for gym equipment, an art and craft room and a wood working workshop.
  • Kitchens in the units will look out onto internal village shared garden area.
  • Cars will be kept to the periphery of the site. Safe pedestrian access to internal shared garden area is prioritized over cars. Covered car parks where possible. Some parking – for example, for visitors – to be designed within road setbacks. Having 2 car parks for every 3 units is acceptable because we plan to car share electric vehicles and some older residents may no longer drive.
  • The Commonhouse (CH) should be in the centre of the site. Ideally residents would walk past or through it from their cars (or on foot from the shops) to their dwelling. This encourages incidental human interactions. No one should have too far to walk to get there. Walking paths from each grouping of dwellings to the CH should originate from the central, shared garden areas. Maximise expansive views.

The Commonhouse will be the hub of the community, facilitating home-based social and recreational activities. It will be a comfortable space that functions as an extension of individuals’ homes. The Commonhouse kitchen and dining space will be where the community can gather and share a meal, and do big cooking sprees (think jams and bake-offs). All areas in the Commonhouse are to be designed for universal access. We’re excited to start using the existing house as a hub and as a base for our regular creek regeneration working bees.