Incredibly, two weeks have passed since our open house and Park(ing) Day. And what is there to say except a heartfelt "thank you" to everyone who made the day possible and came out to celebrate with us.
We made it. After months of delays and rescheduling, two full days of packing and unpacking, and many subsequent hours of organizing, we’re finally in our new home on Capitol Hill. Slowly, things are coming together—our admins have their new casework, acoustic felt and carpeting are going in, and the next few weeks will get us pretty darn close to complete.
We asked the staff, “What have you most enjoyed about being back on Capitol Hill? What are you most looking forward to now that we’re back? What has surprised you most about being in the new office?” Here are some of their answers:
Will: Being in a vibrant neighborhood with Seattle’s best park a few blocks away. Enjoying lunch on the roof deck. How spacious the office feels.
Margaret T: I like being so close to home and in the middle of Cap Hill – it feels like a community here, and we’re so close to my favorite haunts. I also like that Cap Hill is not so touristy!
Abby: I’ve enjoyed being able to walk to work. Not only is it a quick and easy commute, it’s fun seeing the neighborhood wake up as I make my way into the office. I was anticipating the open office layout to be very distracting, and I’m surprised by how little that’s been a problem for me.
Mike: Seeing people I know while walking around the neighborhood—that didn’t happen much in the temp location. Being close to our daughter and the CHUC community throughout the day. It’s hotter than I hoped…need to work on ventilation and night cooling.
Joann: I enjoy the natural daylight in the office, the standing desk configuration and being so close to the park. I’m looking forward to exploring the neighborhood and getting to know the local businesses.
Mira: I love being able to walk to work and seeing all the quirky personalities of those on Capitol Hill. I enjoy being together in one big space as one big Schemata family. I look forward to settling in, decluttering, and adding some personality back to our second home! One thing that never ceases to amaze me, despite the transition pains, is how seamless it has been to work on virtual machines.
Sarah: The office moving to the Hill has meant that everyone is starting over together in a new space. As the newest person in the office, this has helped me feel like one of the team faster than if we hadn’t all participated in the big move!
Grace: I like being immersed in the community where I have invested my personal and professional time. Within the walls of our new building I enjoy the sounds of kids playing, neighbors talking and laughing, and the clink of dishes as they get washed or neighbors eat dinner. Outside the gate to the building I enjoy a vibrant business district where I meet my neighbors of the greater Capitol Hill community.
And we’re not done celebrating!
Last Saturday, April 30, 2016, members of Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing (CHUC) provided on-the-hour tours throughout the day to an estimated 90-100 visitors. We were delightfully surprised by the major turnout! At the same time, Grace & Sheila held a Cohousing 101 informational session nearby with 20 attendees for 1-1/2 hour long presentation and discussion about this type of intentional community.
It probably isn't a surprise to anyone by now that we are eager to move into our new home - it's so close we can almost taste it. Likewise, delays that have caused our move-in to slip away further and further have been frustrating. We just want to move-in! But feeling the excitement of everyone who came by during the National Cohousing Open House was a welcome reminder that, despite all the delays, issues and challenges, it will all be worth it in the end.
Many visitors had read some of the recent press (here and here), a group came down from Vancouver BC after visiting Bellingham Cohousing, some walked by and it caught their attention, while a few had a vision for a revolution (!) of resident-developed communities like CHUC. All visitors that we talked to and walked through the building understood excitement that residents feel for this intimately-scaled, community focused cohousing project.
We heard our new building described as “…one of the most innovative, socially just and [hopefully] deeply influential projects completed in Seattle this year." We were flattered by this succinct yet thoughtful description and couldn't be more proud of what we've accomplished.
It was a good reminder to us that:
...we have ultimately pushed the envelope to innovate not only architecturally, but also socially.
...we created something that embodies the vision of our firm: design that empowers communities, is sustainable not only environmentally but also socially, and provides so many opportunities for second reads.
...we had a wild dream and actually made it happen!
Here's to never thinking dreams are too big- cheers!
Last week, Guy and I did a walk-through of CHUC: Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing. 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!