The Arboretum Cohousing group held their first get-together in early 2003. At the same time, Madison's St. Marys Hospital was making the decision to sell a portion of a block of homes, and requested proposals. In late 2003, Arboretum Cohousing's proposal was accepted when St. Mary's decided it would best meet the both hospital's and the neighborhood's goals of maintaining affordable home ownership. Soon after, the group began planning in earnest. As the design architects, Design Coalition brought cohousing planning and design expertise to the table for these early stages of the process, developed the concept through several iterations, and helped the group successfully navigate the months-long City approval process.
Above: Aerial rendering of the site.
The project includes a total of 40 dwelling units ranging from studio-efficiencies to 3- and 4-bedroom homes. The existing structures on the block were built between the late 1800's and early 1930's. Most were refurbished; a few in poor condition were moved or demolished to make way for new buildings, including a common 'house' (actually, a whole ground-floor with outdoor terrace) and extensive underground basement parking. Construction was completed in 2008.
Above: Rendering of the shared courtyard space with the common house on the right.
Above: View along Erin Street.
Below: The Erin Street common house (at grade), with living units (above). Although three-and-a-half stories on the rear, (inward) sides, the main buildings nevertheless present relatively modest 2-story faces to the neighborhood. Creating a design with modest scale and rhythm of the facade was important factor in satistying the neighbors that the extra density of the new project would blend in.