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Our mission is to help design collectively owned spaces for communal action. Key words for our designs include:







Our guiding values include the seven traditional Principles of Cooperation, plus a few others.

Rochdale Principles

of Cooperation




Our philosophy is spelled out in our name. Each word was deliberately chosen, and backed by an honest commitment.






Our mission is to help design collectively owned spaces for communal action.

Basically, we want to make spaces where humans can live and act humanely. We’ll break it down one point at a time.


help design - People should feel comfortable in the spaces they inhabit, but people are diverse and what they need out of a space is idiosyncratic. We don’t do normal. We experiment, but productive experimentation means participation from the people engaging us. You know what you want and need. We can help balance your peculiar tastes with a long-term vision for a space that will both serve your immediate goals and outlast them. That means less waste and happier occupants today and tomorrow.


collectively owned spaces - People and the spaces they inhabit can be addressed in isolation, but we encourage a holistic approach, situating each project in its larger context. We may be working with you directly, but we’re also working indirectly with your neighbors and a broader community whose seemingly independent actions affect one another and together yield a larger place as real as any house or shop. This broad definition of “collectively owned spaces” permeates all of our work, but we’re also advocates for a narrower type of collective ownership; one where people have direct legal ownership of a property that they share with others. People need to afford the places we design with them. In addition to thoughtful choices in terms of a building's orientation, form, structure, material, energy efficiency, etc., affordability can be accomplished by sharing construction costs and living expenses. We run ourselves as a worker co-op, and we encourage people to seriously consider living with one another in housing co-ops.

communal action - The full expression of a person is one actively being themselves within a community. We are social, political animals. We shape and are shaped by one another.  We want to give everyone a chance to participate in that give and take, and the built environment has a demonstrable influence on how people interact with one another. As much as possible, we aim to create spaces that foster democratic, egalitarian associations between people. 


corollaries - our primary objectives imply several corollary goals that we leave largely unstated. For example, insofar as we appreciate the inevitable joint-ownership of space and the spill-over effects of individual action, we are thereby recognizing the importance of environmental sustainability in designing the built environment. Similarly, insofar as we appreciate that people are idiosyncratic in their preferences, we are thereby recognizing the necessity of “getting weird” when helping people co-design their spaces. Please assume, therefore, our commitment to environmental sustainability and to getting weird, among other corollary goals.


As a worker cooperative, we organize ourselves around the traditional principles of cooperation as laid out in the Rochdale Principles: (i) voluntary and open membership, (ii) democratic member control, (iii) member economic participation, (iv) autonomy and independence, (v) education, training and information, (vi) co-operation among co-operatives, and (vii) concern for community.


We have adopted in our bylaws three additional values by which we try to conduct ourselves, both in our work as architectural designers, in our dealings with one another, and in our dealings with collaborators. Those values are as follows:


Experimentation - We will labor in a spirit of discovery! Our work will convey the vitality we bring to it. We admit that perfection is unattainable, and we relish the opportunity to explore the many paths toward an objective.


Equanimity - We will not dally, but neither will we rush. We will assess problems holistically, act judiciously, and remain unperturbed when the information at hand allows neither.


Forthrightness - We will deal honestly and plainly with one another and others, ready to make, implement, and explain our decisions, unafraid to confront our limitations or the limitations of our work.


We are Design Anarchy Co-operative, a group of friends and architectural designers organized as a worker co-operative. We are based in the Midwest state of Indiana and incorporated in the Mountain West state of Colorado. Our name is an odd one, but it’s reasonably well thought out. We’ll break it down to give you a better idea of what we’re about.


Design – we all have master’s degrees in architecture, all from Indiana University, and we (occasionally) get paid to design homes, neighborhoods, commercial buildings, and other structures/systems. Each of us is a competent architectural designer in our own right, but we love designing together. This is the easiest part of our name.


Anarchy – a state wherein official positions go unfilled, sometimes due to civil strife but often due to well-functioning voluntary self-governance wherein official positions are rendered superfluous. (Example: Why have a mayor if people are filling the potholes themselves?) In our day-to-day, it’s not always clear if we’re in a state of civil strife or voluntary self-governance, but so far we’ve made things work, for ourselves and our collaborators. In the anarchist spirit, none of us have official titles or duties. Rather, we assemble anew around each project and work together to figure out what needs doing, who is best suited to do it, and what division of tasks will both make for a fun work environment and a successful project.


Co-operative – we are a voluntary, jointly-owned, and democratically controlled enterprise. Each of us is an employee. Each of us is an owner with equal equity. Decisions are made through voting. We have no bosses or underlings. We have each other, and that means a diverse set of skills that---rather than extracted through coercion---we lend to one another for mutual benefit. For our collaborators, this means fewer, more transparent fees (no middle management taking a cut). It can sometimes mean slightly less efficient processes, but those processes are usually more resilient (we can all back one another up), more enjoyable (we coordinate to take work we like, and don’t mind help out when someone gets stuck with unpleasant tasks), and the results convey greater vitality (co-ops are voluntary affairs; no one is forcing us to work so we take work we like).


Then we string it all together for our company name. Colorado law requires the “Co-operative” to be there. “Design Anarchy”, which is what you can call us for short, we thought was a fun play on expectations. Anarchies have a bad wrap in public opinion, often associated with mayhem. What about them needs designed? A lot, actually. In fact, anthropologists and ethnographers are re-discovering that previously caricatured indigenous societies had and have complex, intricate social arrangements that safeguard the anarchist features of their cultures; the features most associated with freedom, experimentation, and day-to-day enjoyment. Maintaining these features takes great care.


As trained designers, we care about making spaces meant to invigorate human occupants. As good anarchists, we are here because we want to be. As committed co-operatists, we look out for one another because it benefits us all.

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