413-549-5799 - 110 Pulpit Hill Road, Amherst, MA 01002

Firm Profile

At Fitch Architecture and Community Design (established in 2000 as Kraus Fitch Architects), we believe that quality architecture, programming and master planning involve carefully listening to and meeting of clients’ needs. We choose to be active stewards of our community and planet by focusing our practice on projects that are ecologically and socially relevant.

From initial programming to construction details, we pay attention to the big picture of ecological and social sustainability, principles that have been recognized in numerous awards. The firm enjoys working on a diversity of project types, including institutional, residential, commercial, and educational projects. Laura Fitch is particularly noted for her work on several award-winning elementary schools and cohousing communities. In addition to new construction we have extensive experience in historic renovations and the reuse of old buildings for contemporary functions.

FACD will continue to build on the cohousing work of Kraus Fitch Architects, which has been nationally recognized for its extensive experience in community design. We have designed and consulted on numerous cohousing projects throughout North America.

See what clients say:

“Thanks to everyone for your hard work making the new [classroom] a reality. I taught my first class their today and it was wonderful! … It should be a great place for my organic chemistry elective this semester!”

– Kevin Shea – Smith College Chemistry Professor

“…because of your ingenuity and expertise, we were able to create an environmentally sensitive building, emphasizing natural materials, complete with a large front porch that welcomes and shelters children and their parents.”

– Karen Bates, Director of Development at the Hartsbrook School

“Hi Laura- I just re-read your report. I wanted to thank you again for doing such an excellent job! It is a great reflection of what we do and what we need to do moving forward. I’m so glad we were able to work with you!”

– Former Director of the Survival Center, Amherst

“Hello Laura, …We are still singing your praises and reflecting on the design considerations you facilitated for us. You were masterful in working with us and most caring…”

– Ken Moore, member of Durham Central Park Cohousing Community.

“Laura, I think I’ve said it before but I must say again, pushing us to stick with our large porch design is about the best decision you/we ever made!!!!”

– Diana Carroll, resident at Mosaic Commons Cohousing”

“…the collaborative design process they used with our group was very clear and supportive. We always felt we were equal partners in the final outcome and that our ideas were taken into consideration every step of the way. Their understanding of the way cohousing works and their ideas about designing space to bring out the best of a community were excellent…I have to say that designing and building a community of this size with this much homeowner involvement was an extraordinary feat. It took patience, skill, long hours in meetings, and constant consultation with many different stakeholders. Laura and Mary did all this and more to assure that we had the community we all envisioned. I highly recommend them to anyone designing a cohousing community.”

– Marie Silver, resident at Pathways Cohousing

“Mary Kraus and Laura Fitch did an outstanding job on the programming for our site, common house, and individual units. They skillfully facilitated the design meetings, giving everyone a chance to be heard, but not allowing one voice to dominate. They gave us their opinions when we requested them, but did not try to unduly influence the group. They also successfully collaborated with another architectural firm in order to pull together the design for our common house kitchen. Because of this collaboration I feel we will have one of the most beautiful and functional common house kitchens in the country. I would recommend them without hesitation to work with other cohousing or nonprofit groups on programming, site, and unit design.”

– Diane Simpson, resident at Jamaica Plain Cohousing

“Two Echo’s successful working relationship with Mary and Laura is founded on their deep knowledge of and direct experience with cohousing and cohousing design, and their ability to lead a group through a process involving many design decisions…The two Echo common house design is practical and efficient; it is sensitive to both the design program and to our tight budget…When I review the design process for the Two Echo common house in my mind, I am especially pleased that we made the choice to work with architects as well versed in cohousing as [Fitch Architects].”

– Rob Wiener, resident at Two Echo Cohousing

“I have to tell you that I am impressed with your work…the refinement, and quality of both the experience and product you create.”

– Chris ScottHansen, Cohousing Development Consultant, Cohousing Resources

“Here’s our thoughts after six months in our new house: It packs a lot of living into less than 1400 energy-efficient square feet. We love the old farmhouse look outside and the spacious, daylit, functional spaces inside. We got four bedrooms and a finishable basement in an affordably-priced house. The input of [Fitch Architects] in the community’s site design ensured that we had a cohousing community that had an intimate, neighborhood feel and aesthetic appeal, and functioned efficiently. We got all the spaces we wanted within a compact footprint and maintained substantial open space on the land.”

– Bill Farkas, a founding member of Pathways Cohousing and Design Committee Chair

“These skilled professionals go well beyond what’s required of the design process for cohousing groups – they care about and respect group members’ ideas and contributions, they lend creative thinking, and offer endless enthusiasm throughout the project – much needed qualities when the going gets tough!”

– Dyan Wiley, Pioneer Valley CoHousing

“BTW, [during the open house] we got lots of compliments on the design of the house and mentioned your name to several people. People commented on the “open but cozy” feeling and how “it seems so welcoming”. Several commented on how they liked the varying ceiling heights…Someone asked what we would do differently and I honestly couldn’t think of anything.”

– Tom, resident of custom home designed by Laura

“Laura Fitch is one of our outstanding cohousing professionals. Not only is she an outstanding architect, but also she is adept at group process — at working collaboratively with large numbers of folks who can come to the table with diverse views. That takes talent. Laura is also committed to environmental sustainability and nurturing community for health and resilience.”

– Alice Alexander, execute director of the Cohousing Association of the US