Copper Lane Cohousing
London’s first cohousing project shows how sharing some spaces supports community life and makes the houses more compact.
|Number of homes||6 market value homes|
|Project Stage||Built 2014|
How they formed
The residents came together to do things collectively, sharing things such as gardens and laundry and workshop facilities.
The founding members of the group formed a non-profit company limited by guarantee. The site and common parts are owned by the company. Individual homes are owned on 999-year leases by leaseholders who are also directors of the company. They meet once a month to sort out collective business.
The site had an abandoned set of buildings formerly used as a nursery, surrounded by the backs of terraced houses on all sides. Three of the current residents who lived nearby, spotted the site for sale without planning permission and bought the site together.
The group sold their homes to finance the purchase of the land and moved into rented accommodation. Once planning permission was secured, they were able to obtain individual mortgages from Ecology Building Society.
Design and Construction
Clustered around a raised central courtyard with a communal space beneath, five of the six houses have internal doors to a shared laundry, workshop and hall which saves space in individual houses and encourages a neighbourly community, surrounded by communal gardens.
The scheme was designed by Henley Halebrown. The homes are sunk 1.2 metres into the ground meaning they do not overshadow neighbouring houses. The orientation of buildings and placement of windows also minimise overlooking.
Trees on the site were kept where possible and high-grade timber and brick cladding were used to blend in with the vegetation and surrounding back gardens. High levels of energy efficiency are achieved with a well-insulated structure, triple glazing, heat recovery ventilation, solar thermal water heating and airtight construction techniques.