Terraced house

In architecture and city planning, a terrace or terrace house (UK) or townhouse (US) is a form of medium-density housing that originated in Europe in the 16th century, whereby a row of attached dwellings share side walls. They are also known in some areas as row houses or row homes (especially in Baltimore, New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington, D.C.).

The term terrace was borrowed from garden terraces by British architects of the late Georgian period to describe streets of houses whose uniform fronts and uniform height created an ensemble that was more stylish than a "row". Townhouses (or townhomes) are generally two- to three-storey structures that share a wall with a neighbouring unit. As opposed to apartment buildings, townhouses do not have neighbouring units above or below them. They are similar in concept to row houses or terraced houses except they are usually divided into smaller groupings of homes. The first and last of the houses is called an end terrace and is often a different layout from the houses in the middle, sometimes called mid-terrace.

Large numbers of terraced houses were built in the inner suburbs of large Australian cities, particularly Sydney and Melbourne, mainly between the 1850s and the 1890s (terraced housing is rare outside of these cities). Detached housing became the popular style of housing in Australia following Federation in 1901. The most common building material used was brick, often covered with cement render and then painted.

Terraced housing has long been a popular form in Paris, France. The Place des Vosges (1605 – 1612) was one of the earliest examples of the arrangement. In Parisian squares, central blocks were given discreet prominence, to relieve the façade. Terraced building including housing was also used primarily during Haussmann's renovation of Paris between 1852 and 1870 creating whole streetscapes consisting of terraced rows.

It is far from being the case that terraced houses were only built for people of limited means. This is especially true in London, where some of the wealthiest people in the country owned them in locations such as Belgrave Square and Carlton House Terrace. These townhouses, in the British sense, were the London residences of noble and gentry families who spent most of the year in their country houses. These terraced houses, often surrounding a garden square, are hallmarks of Georgian architecture. The same was true of many British and Irish cities. In Dublin, Georgian squares such as Merrion Square and Fitzwilliam Square housed the city's upper classes.

Terrace housing in American usage generally continued to be called townhouses in the United States. In New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., they are simply called row houses or row homes, and are very common. Despite the narrow lots, many row houses are relatively large, some being over 2,000 square feet. They typically have two stories, but may have three or more (with the latter often being converted into apartments for separate tenants). A townhouse in the northeast refers to newer constructions of terraced houses, of suburban nature, especially.

In Chicago, row houses can be found in the downtown & surrounding areas developed in the late 1800s through 1930s. Many are two and three-flat buildings (consisting of one or sometimes two apartments on a three-floored building). A Greystone is similar to the Brownstone found in New York and Boston, except the façade is clad in Indiana Limestone. Most row houses are separated by a gangway that leads under the common wall between the houses leading to the rear of the property (where sometimes a rear house or coach house exists) and alleyway. The vast majority of two and three flats do not share a common wall and are stand alone structures. However, many row houses similar to those in Philadelphia and Baltimore do exist (though not as common) largely on the south and west sides.

 

 


Home | Etymology of house | Elements of house | History of house | Middle Ages  | Industrial Revolution | 19th and 20th centuries |

| Construction | Identification and symbolism | Home construction | Building science | Mixed-use developmentAffordable housing | Real estate bubble |