Modeled after New England barns and surrounding a shared garden, these sustainable homes form a forward-thinking co-housing community.
In Great Barrington, Massachusetts, a trio of timber-framed houses peer out on a clearing previously occupied by an assemblage of 1940s and 1950s greenhouses that once served as nurseries for a florist. A developer and interior designer bought the lots in 2012 and hired Hillsdale, New York–based Grigori Fateyev of Art Forms Architecture to design a co-housing community of small-footprint, ecologically sustainable homes on the site.
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Locally sourced hemlock timbers are exposed, joints splayed, rabbeted, and locked with a peg to span the nearly 60-foot length. The load of the rooftop is distributed down to hemlock cross-beams that form a series of proscenia within the barn-like structure, substituting for a typical ridge beam at the top. An accessory loft is a bonus bedroom above the front guest room with an en-suite bathroom.
"I looked for a way to simplify the gesture of the frame to have a more abstract quality to it," Fateyev says. "I was looking for a way to make it very simple and expressive."
On the other side of the central foyer, a smaller gabled structure contains the master bedroom, a walk-in closet lit with a window, and a bathroom featuring a matching marble-covered ash vanity with a double-sink. A hatch in the ceiling conceals the building mechanicals, including heat-recovery ventilator, boiler, and heat pump.
Between the glazed pergola-like entrance and the kitchen, sliding doors reveal a deck with a hemlock trellis and a gravel-covered lounging area facing the river.
"The integration with the exterior was very important," Fateyev says. "In the warmer months, that’s the on-and-off rhythm that the Berkshires have, where in the winter you shrink, and in the summer you expand….The idea is to immediately connect you and visitors to the space outdoors."