location: Mission District / San Francisco / CA
type: DIY Commercial Renovation
completed: Fall 2003 – Summer 2005
size: 2000 sf

About

In the fall of 2003, a friend and I decided to explore the idea of creating a new cooperative housing space. We posted a housing wanted ad on craigslist. Within a few weeks, there was a group of ten or so like-minded strangers on board, willing to help procure a space large enough to house 10-12 people and engage the process of building community.

Through the process of finding a suitable space, organizing ourselves into a consensus-based collective, developing a renovation plan, building out a rented warehouse space on a shoestring budget, and living together in a construction zone, we turned from strangers into close friends and allies.

We cooperatively designed and built-out the top floor-and-a-half of a three-story brick warehouse that had originally been a post office. We evolved from a housing cooperative to an events collective, hosting a variety of arts and activism events including: movie nights, teach-ins, workshops, skill-shares, food not bombs cook nights, fundraisers, meetings and community celebrations.

Still in operation, the space houses between 9-13 residents who share the responsibilities of running the events space.

Features

  • Community design process
  • Consensus decision making
  • Salvaged building materials
  • 100% volunteer labor
  • Very low-budget