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  • Writer's pictureMolly Jones

Heartwood Commons: Building a Beautiful Community

It’s possible to improve lives and heal communities while being a good steward to the environment. And we do that by considering why, what, and how we build. Heartwood Commons is a vibrant, welcoming, intentional community. It’s members celebrate connection to each other and to nature in a caring, compassionate, respectful, and sustainable environment. Heartwood Commons is an amazing example of what is possible when you build with community and the environment in mind.

Our passion is sustainability!

Our team at Jones Design Studio was thrilled to work on this project! Sustainability is our passion and we are so excited about the many sustainable features of Heartwood Commons. It will feature a geothermal heating and cooling system as well as an enhanced building envelope: The sealed attics with continuous insulation will create extremely energy efficient homes.

Common to our sustainable approach, we were careful to select materials that will minimize toxins in the interior environment. The water strategy includes a well-fed infrastructure for all outdoor watering needs and water-efficient fixtures inside the residences. This will minimize the burden on the municipal sewer and stormwater systems and result in savings for the homeowners.

Where can your passion take you?

The owners of Heartwood Commons have a passion for cohousing and all the benefits that come with it! They know that there are many reasons to choose cohousing: Friendship, a greater sense of security, reduced home maintenance costs, shared resources and responsibilities, greater independence, and more time to focus on the things you enjoy.

With that in mind, they set out to create Tulsa’s first cohousing community. Located on a 4.8-acre lot near 71st street and Quincy avenue, it sits one block from Riverside Drive, is in close proximity to shopping, and a short drive north to the Gathering Place.

The 55+ community consists of 36 single-family homes of four sizes, ranging from 758 square feet to 1,500 square feet, that are arranged to promote walkability and curate connections. A 3,000-square-foot common house on the west portion of the site opens onto a large shared green space. Additional amenities include a workshop, contemplative space, dog park, and large garden.

All of these design decisions were made in order to reflect the community members’ shared values. Values that would lend to living a longer, healthier, and more rewarding life.

Building Beautifully with Heartwood Commons

Jones Design Studio was part of the project long before the community design began. We walked the Heartwood Commons team through the process of forming their LLC, creating their vision and values, and establishing the teams they’d need to organize the process: Marketing, finance and legal, social, and site selection.

We helped them to locate the site and worked with City officials to gain support for the project. We listened as they discussed the pros and cons of being their own developer. We participated in general, team, and steering team meetings. We also reviewed their development budget and offered suggestions to set them on the right path in our local construction climate. Once formally on board as their architect, we guided them through the entire design and construction process.

The Design Details

During schematic design, we organized and led the participatory design workshops. These consensus-driven workshops helped community members engage in the design process as they formed Heartwood Commons from their shared values.

Project workshops included:

  • Site Design

  • Common House

  • Private Homes

  • Design Closure

  • Kitchen & Bath

​From there, we shaped their ideas into homes and continued to aid outside the bounds of typical architectural scope: We helped them to select a construction manager that would keep the members’ interests in mind and led a virtual home selection celebration when the pandemic made it impossible to convene in person.

Jones Design Studio is currently serving as the on-site project manager while the project is under construction, and we’re looking forward to understanding how the finished project performs as they live out their vision.

Are you ready to build beautifully?

Heartwood Commons is an amazing, community-driven project that is built beautifully. Do you have a project based around a passion for sustainability? No matter the scope or the size of the project, you can create more than just an aesthetically beautiful building. You can make the process of building more mindful and thus more beautiful every step of the way. Contact us and let’s work together to build beautifully!



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