Berea College Ecovillage - Commons

Berea, Kentucky

The Commons serves all the residents of the Ecovillage for social gatherings, and a place for students to study and children to play under adult supervision. The Commons also includes a Collegium office, a kitchen, storage area, bathroom, and a clothes dryer room for use by Ecovillage residents.

The Commons is entered through a vestibule/mailroom off the Ecovillage Green, where both mailboxes and bulletin boards are located, allowing residents to pass-through and collect their mail with or without entering into the Commons Main. This opens onto the Main Hall, a light and airy multi-purpose space around which all the other building uses are gathered. A seating nook at one end of the Hall provides a more intimate place for students to gather, illuminated with a "sun-tube" skylight, with a window allowing parents to keep an eye on children in the adjacent playroom.

A generous community kitchen can be used to cater large events, cook for Ecovillage gatherings, or simply make popcorn and cocoa late at night. Adjacent outdoor "rooms" include a large covered patio and a fenced play yard to the west, and a covered porch outside the Collegium office for outdoor gathering on the south.

Like the Apartments, the Commons is constructed using structural insulated panels, insulated low-e glass windows, and uses radiant heat in the exposed concrete slabs primarily heated with solar thermal panels. The Commons is clad in local re-milled, recycled lumber, inspired by the meeting houses, congregational halls and churches of the rural Kentucky countryside.