Religious, Christian
Communal Property 
1920 - Present

1 Remodelled former Sanitorium 2 Moss Family Home 3 Singles Dormitories 4 Kitchen / Dining 5 Factory 6 Agricultural Buildings

The Bruderhof are an offshoot of the Hutterite community, founded in the 1920s. Younger, agile, and more dynamic they are a global community with locations in America, the UK, Germany, Paraguay, Australia, Japan, and South Korea. Darvell in the UK, like many Bruderhof communities, is a mix of old and new buildings. At Darvell, the 18th century sanatorium has become a sprawling compound of additions and remodels, containing family apartments and a laundry facility that wouldn’t look out of place in a 200 room hotel (1). Institutional, matter-of-fact cinder block buildings are clustered village-like on the top of the hill. There are single-room, dorm style apartments for the elderly and singles (3), containing common rooms and a shared bathroom. Nearby, the communal dining room, complete with industrial kitchen, overlooks the fields. The  density of the buildings enhance the feel of community and, ever pragmatic, leave most of the available land free for farming and industry.

Like many successful communities, manufacturing (5) is an important supplementary income. The Bruderhofs make both wheelchairs and playground equipment; products rooted in the group’s ideals of care and community. At Darvell, they assemble playground equipment by hand; the repetitive, non-strenuous work is undertaken by elder community members, allowing them to socialize and make a meaningful contribution to the community.

Bruderhofs End Notes
All facts and observation are the result of a visit by the author in 2018

Annie Schneider

Communes in the New World

The question of how to live together—of how best to live together—is the foundation of any society. The last few years have exposed the fault lines in our current system: climatic catastrophe, economic crisis, supply chain collapse, civil unrest, rampant inequality, and a global pandemic. We live in congested cities and in potentially dangerous proximity, yet remain isolated. In light of these mounting pressures, it’s time to revisit the fundamentals. How to Live Together offers alternative ways of being, thinking, dwelling, and living. It calls into question every basic assumption and prevailing social norm: belief, sex, the nuclear family, property ownership, our relationship to land, production, and consumption. It is both a critique and a roadmap.