Co is a cooperatively owned community center with shared spaces designed to provide a backdrop for inspiration and maximize productivity. A variety of common areas, private offices, meeting rooms and exterior spaces create a warm, informal atmosphere that that can accommodate intimate conversations as well as large social gatherings within a verdant setting in the Hudson Valley Village of Rhinebeck, New York.
This project involves the renovation of a circa 1970’s modular commercial building and later additions along Route 9, the Hudson Valley’s main thoroughfare. Site work included relocating the parking area to the southern edge of the site, transforming a barren asphalt parking lot into a great front lawn, dramatically improving the building’s street appeal. All additions to the original structure were removed, trimmed or consolidated and soffits were extended to create a continuous, folded metal roof. The entire building was stripped to the studs, insulated, re-sheathed and faced in cedar siding. Voids “carved” out of the original building envelope were faced in vertical natural cedar boards, in contrast to the original wall surfaces, which were painted dark grey.
A long clerestory window was created by extending the existing roofline out toward the street. This element not only provides abundant natural light and ventilation to the heart of the building, but also acts a beacon, announcing to passersby the vibrant activities taking place inside.
Two timber-frame entry canopies help define independent courtyard spaces; one a grassy quadrangle, the other a hardscape associated with the event and exhibition space, with a large glass “garage” door that opens to allow activities and receptions to extend out into the courtyard. These canopies, covered in double sided photovoltaic cells within two layers of glass, help generate a portion of the building’s energy needs and also act as shade structures for outdoor dining and bicycle parking. Cedar screen walls and trellises accompany each canopy, tying them back to the building.
A new addition built on the east end of the building houses to tear-shaped meeting rooms inspired by the Mayan kiva, a non-directional, circular form which enables democratic discourse. These shapes, with exteriors clad in cedar, curve inward under the sloping roof, guiding visitors toward a canyon-like entry vestibule.
Large wood windows were installed to increase natural daylighting to all interior spaces, which are faced in rough-sawn pine boards. All drop ceilings were removed, resulting in “cathedral” ceilings clad in the same material, accentuated by integral, linear up-lighting. In the common room, the existing wood trusses were uncovered and now project lacy shadows, as sunlight pours in through the clerestory window above. Tucked below the trusses, a curved, white-board / presentation wall conceals a more private, sheltered area for “diner” and phone booths with built-in furnishings. A long concrete counter serves both the reception and open kitchen, with custom stainless steel cabinets and appliances. The natural daylighting strategies and material palate extend even to the restroom and shower areas, which are provided with skylights and outfitted with warm cedar paneling, colorful painted surfaces and large format ceramic tile.
Sustainable strategies have been employed throughout the project, which employs a rural, yet refined, aesthetic to attempt to revive and integrate a once-deteriorated building into the Hudson Valley landscape and create a calm, yet vibrant atmosphere for innovation and creativity.