Sustainability and Housing Justice Shine, Bolstered by Cooperation
“It only felt fair and effective that if you expect people to put all their creativity into something and really invest, then the company should invest in them as well and bring them in as part of ownership” explained co-founder and architect Noah Modie when asked about their co-op.
A core principle of cooperation is to gather information from membership to make the best decision possible, sharing multiple sets of information and perspectives. It is a fantastic advantage for business, but exceptionally rare in architectural design and construction.
Becoming a cooperative enabled Oxbow to truly integrate the input of all involved, leveraging worker cooperation to work across design, fabrication, and budget. Oxbow’s strong, seemless product reinforces the equity and ownership among workers. Modie stated “the co-op has made it so that resources and decisions are in the right hands. It’s both moral and effective.” Oxbow converted their Limited Liability Company (LLC) to a worker co-operative in 2019, using the support of the Valley Alliance of Worker Co-ops.
• Converted from an LLC to a worker co-op in 2019
• Offers full-service design and construction services
• Incorporated as a worker co-op under M.G.L. 157A
• Democratically owned and controlled by its members
• Works in housing justice, affordability and construction of housing co-ops
• Values environmental sustainability, performs deep energy retrofits
Oxbow takes projects from their conceptual stages all the way through execution while prioritizing community and sustainability in each step; from the projects they decide to undertake, the materials they use, and the ownership structure they embody.
Oxbow practices these two traits throughout their work, from heightened environmental standards to working in housing justice. One notable collaboration is with nearby Compost Cooperative in Greenfield. Together, they addressed challenges in housing affordability by investing in a dilapidated house convenient to Compost Co-op members, performed a deep energy retrofit and transformed the existing two units into three cooperatively-owned units.
“We place a huge emphasis on environmental performance. We do what we can to use sustainable materials in everything we do” reported Modie. Their dedication to enhancing environmental performance and a cooperative work environment has made them a trusted partner for clients.
Oxbow Design Build sets an example for the construction industry, for job and housing security, and for a truly inclusive, co-op economy in our region. When you have construction or a renovation project you want done, do it cooperatively with Oxbow: oxbowdesignbuild.com • (413) 527-9000.
Written by Dylan Hatch and Adam Trott.