Conference PaperPDF Available

Development Plans of Townhouses in the European Context

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

The aim of the report is to offer a comprehensive picture of townhouse development plans in the European context. From the examples of Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom. A townhouse is a type of higher urban family house with multiple living rooms. Usually with three or more floors. The height significantly exceeds the width of the house. Due to common building structures, technical and spatial solutions, such as shared parking, waste management, etc., it is more of a hybrid typology. That is, a combination of individual housing and an apartment building. From an urban point of view, townhouses are a type of urban housing, especially as an example of low-rise buildings with high residential density with a strong link to public space. An overall evaluation of foreign examples of development plans will provide how the current townhouses are implemented in the urban structure. This is in terms of character of development, open space and transportation.
Content may be subject to copyright.
https://doi.org/10.13164/phd.fa2020.2
Urban Space and Structure
Development Plans of Townhouses in the
European Context
Zastavovací systémy townhousů v evropském
kontextu
Ing. arch. Erik PETRUS
Tutor: doc. Ing. arch. David Tichý, Ph.D.; Ústav nauky o budovách, Fakulta architek-
tury, České vysoké učení technické v Praze, Česká republika
E-mail address: erik.petrus@fa.cvut.cz
ABST RACT: e aim of this report is to oer a comprehensive picture of townhouse
development plans in the European context, using the examples of Denmark, the
Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom. A townhouse is a type of higher
urban family house with multiple living rooms, usually with three or more oors.
e height signicantly exceeds the width of the house. Due to common building
struc tures and techn ical and spatia l solutions, such as sha red parking, waste manage-
ment, etc., it i s more of a hybrid typolog y. at is, a combination of i ndividual housi ng
and an apartment building. From an urban point of view, townhouses are a type of
urban housing, especially as an example of low-rise buildings with high residential
density with a strong link to public space. An overall evaluation of foreign examples
of development plans will demonstrate how current townhouses are implemented in
the urban structure. is is in terms of character of development, open space and
transportation.
KEYWOR DS: development plans; townhouse; higher terraced house; urban family
house; individual housing; low-rise high-density housing
ABSTRAKT: Cílem příspěvku je nabídnout ucelený obraz zastavovacích systé
townhousů v evropském kontextu, a to pomocí přík ladů z Dánska, Nizozemska, Ně-
mecka a Velké Británie. Townhouse je typ rodinného, vyššího městského řadového
domu s více obytnými místnostmi, obvykle se třemi a více podlažími. Výška výrazně
převyšuje šířku domu. Vzhledem ke společným stavebním konstrukcím a technické-
mu a prostorovému řešení, jako je například společné parkování, nakládání s odpady
apod., se jedná spíše o hybridní typologii. Tedy o kombinaci individuálního bydlení
a bytového domu. Z urbanistického hlediska představují townhousy typ městského
bydlení, zvláště jako příklad nízkopodlažní zástavby s vysokou obytnou hustotou a
se silnou vazbou na veřejný prostor. Celkové vyhodnocení zahraničních příkladů za-
stavovacích systémů poskytne přehled o tom, jakým způsobem jsou současné town-
housy implementovány v městské urbanistické struktuře. A to z hlediska charakteru
zástavby, otevřeného prostranství a dopravy.
KLÍČO SLOVA : zastavovací systémy; townhouse; vyšší řadový dům; městský ro-
dinný dům; individuální bydlení; nízkopodlažní zástavba s vysokou oby tnou hustotou
Introduction
A townhous e is a type of fam ily, higher urban ter raced house with more living rooms.
Usually with three or more oors, where the height of the townhouse signicantly
exceeds the width of the house. A townhouse is a type of family urban house with a
strong connection to public space. is is an example of a low-rise development with
a high residential density. In the Czech Republic, townhouses are known in the form
of burgher’s houses, which, like today’s townhouses, oered life in the city and com-
bined to make a place for both living and work.
It is also a so-called hybrid typology. at is, a combination of an apartment building
and a family house. e advantage of this typology is the higher sustainability of in-
dividual housing, from both an economic and social point of view. Characteristic
aspects are shared indoor and outdoor spaces (Kohout, 2014).
e construction of townhouses is most widespread in Western Europe, especially in
Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. is type of urban
housing ha s a long tradition in t hese countries . e result of this pap er will be use d for
research, which is used to nd suitable models of townhouses targeted at the Czech
environment.
9th ACAU 2020 conference papers 15
Method
In order to ana lyse the development plans of townhouses, 4 European countries whe-
re townhouses are, to some extent, represented and combined with another kind of
typology were selected. e development plan is dened in the certied methodology
of Social Housing (p. B-32, 2017) as: “a set of buildings and adjoining open spaces,
usually with a uniformly designed environment and a specic character”. e selec-
tion of the investigated examples of residential development plans are analysed using
examples f rom Germany, the Netherlands, Den mark and the United Kingdom. ree
localities were selected from each country. However, the size of the localities varies,
but it is always a complete set, which was designed as a whole for a certain number of
inhabitants and with a predetermined share of the typology of houses. e examined
examples of development plans were selected to cover the most common represen-
tations in terms of urban typology that may appear in the urban environment. e
aim was to select such examples that we can consider as exemplary. e structure,
indiv idually exam ined parameters and layout of the elaborated pa rts were taken f rom
the certied methodology of Social Housing (2017). Each development plan was pro-
cessed as a whole in the graphic part, because townhouses are always combined with
other ty pologies in these cases a nd it is therefore necessary to analyse them in a broa-
der sense, and not only within the block. e evaluation itself for each parameter is
applied only to townhouses. erefore, only those that are key in terms of evaluation
were selected from the examined parameters. e following parameters were analy-
sed for individual development plans within the analysis:
1. Character of the development
e aim wa s to analyse how town houses are integrated into the entire urba n structu re
of a given development plan, using the following parameters:
Composition of units
Parcel
Typological composition
Building orientation
Functional use of the ground oor
Height arrangement
Floor area ratio (FAR)
Building coverage ratio (BCR)
Residential density
2. Outdoor open space
Townhouses have a strong relationship with public space, so it is essential to analyse
these spaces around the townhouses, in terms of:
Development Plans of Townhouses in the European Context
Ing. arch. Erik Petrus
16
Typological composition of outdoor open space
Hierarchy of privacy
Representation of natural elements
3. Transportation
Permeability through the territory
Parking
At the end of these analyses, a mutual comparison of all investigated housing estates
is performed. is is in terms of the year of implementation, area of the territory, re-
presentation of individual typologies, oor area ratio (FAR), building coverage ratio
(BCR) and residential density. According to FAR and BCR, the type of urban develo-
pment in which townhouses appear was subsequently determined.
Development plans of townhouses in the European context
A detailed analysis was performed using four European countries: Denmark, the
Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom. From each country, 3 residential
development plans were analysed. e surveyed housing estates from Denmark and
Germany were personally visited as part of a eld survey.
1. Character of the development
e composition of the development plans is clearly legible in all of the countries
studied. Townhouses are stacked in blocks, alone or in combination with either
apartment buildings or with terraced or detached family houses. e typological
composition depends mainly on the character of the development and its position
within the city. e building line of townhouses may or may not be identical to the
street line. However, it depends on the country. In the Netherlands, townhouses are
located mainly with their facades on the street line and allow direct access to the
house from a public space. In Denmark and the United Kingdom, the street line is, in
most cases, not the same as the building line or the facade of the townhouses. It thus
creates a small space between the street space and the townhouse itself in the form
of a small semi-private front garden, which serves, for example, as a seating area. In
Germany too, the street and building lines are not identical, and the front gardens of
the townhouses are large enough to allow, for example, parking space. e degree of
connection between townhouses and public space thus depends on the cultural con-
text (Fig. 1 – 01.3 Typological composition). e parcelling of townhouses is, in most
cases, uniform. However, there can be two types of plot widths within a residential
complex: narrow plots that do not allow parking on their own plot, and wider plots
179th ACAU 2020 conference papers
that allow parking. is diversity of parcelling oers dierent internal typologies of
townhouses and thus oers housing to dierent target groups within the population.
e orientation of the main facades with entrances is mostly oriented to the public
space, or to the shared courtyard. Within the height level, townhouses are located
mainly in the central part of the development plan and create a smooth transition be-
tween dierent levels and typologies. e functional use of the ground oor is situa-
ted on the ma in streets and s quares, where ser vices or shops are loc ated on the ground
oor of the townhouses. is active parterre also depends on the location within the
residential complex and the outline of the public spaces.
e resulting analysis of development character according to the oor area ratio
(FAR), building coverage ratio (BCR) and residential density shows that townhouses
are designed in 3 types of urban development (Fig. 4). ese are:
Compact urban type of development
Urban type of development
Loose urban type of development
e compact urban type of development consists of compact closed blocks with a
clearly dened and uninterrupted street line. Another type is the urban type of de-
velopment, which is characterized by closed or semi-closed blocks with a predomi-
nantly continuous street line. e last type is a loose urban type of development.
It is mainly a development consisting of a group of buildings or open blocks. e
individual types of development plan dier from each other in the built-up area and
also in their respective degrees of use, which depends on the height of the buildings.
e population density of development plans ranges from 250–450 inhabitants / ha,
depending on the type of development (Tab. 1). e terminology and coecients for
determining the type of development were taken from the Methodological Instruc-
tion to the Master Plan of the Capital City of Prague (2002).
2. Outdoor open space
e typological composition of buildings and its distribution within the entire de-
velopment plans is primarily dependent on the hierarchy of public spaces and the
typ ological composition of open space. Townhouses are one of the few t ypes of fami ly
houses which have a strong connection to public space, which aects the internal
typology and vice versa. Apartment buildings are mostly located along the main and
busier roads. Townhouses are located along main or mostly busy, less busy roads.
Apartment buildings and townhouses can also be located within one street. Terraced
and detached family houses are situated on the hierarchy of lower public space, com-
18 Development Plans of Townhouses in the European Context
Ing. arch. Erik Petrus
pared to townhouses, and mainly on quieter streets. In the case of a combination of
apart ment buildings and townhouses withi n a block, apartment buildings are usua lly
located on corners and townhouses are connected between them. Public spaces along
the townhouses are largely planted with trees or other greenery, as the great eort of
the residents themselve s is to make their publ ic space in front of the townhouses plea-
sant and representative. e front gardens of townhouses, which are oriented toward
the public space, have a semi-private character and the gardens are oriented more to-
wards quiet private spaces, such as courtyards. In most examples, interna l or external
spaces are shared within t he block, which are sha red with other residents living in the
given block (Fig. 2).
3. Transportation
In most cases, the blocks allow secondary permeability through the territory. If the
blocks are designed in the optimal size, they do not allow secondary permeability.
Parking is usually shared in garages, in public areas or within your own plot. e
parcelling of townhouses aects the method of parking. Narrower plots do not allow
parking within the plot and it is necessary to use shared parking, for example, in a
public space or in shared garages, which is in contrast to wider plots that allow par-
king (Fig. 3).
Conclusion
e method of townhouse development plans in Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands
and the United Kingdom are more or less the same. e individual development plans
within the countries dier from each other only in the degree of connection of town-
houses to public space. It can be stated that the degree of connect ion to the public space
depends on the cultural contex t, which is also reected in t he internal typology of each
townhous e. e analysed e xamples also show t hat townhouses a re designed for residen-
tial complexes located in city centres or in their inner peripheries.
Literature
BOUMOVÁ, Irena, Ladislav KÁŽMÉR, Martin LUX et al. Sociální bydlení: příprava
projektů (certikovaná metodika). 2017. Praha: Fakulta architektury ČVUT.
KOHOUT, Michal, František ŠTÁFEK, David TICHÝ a Filip TITTL, 2014. Můj dům,
naše ulice: individuální bydlení a jeho koordinovaná výstavba. Praha: Zlatý řez.
ISBN 978-80-87-068-11-3.
Metodický pokyn k Územnímu plánu sídelního útvaru hlavního města Prahy, 2002.
Praha: MHMP, sekce Útvar rozvoje hl. m. Prahy.
199th ACAU 2020 conference papers
Fig. 1. Development plans - Character of the development (source Erik Petrus)
20 Development Plans of Townhouses in the European Context
Ing. arch. Erik Petrus
Fig. 2. Development plans - Character of the development and outdoor open space
(source Erik Petrus)
219th ACAU 2020 conference papers
Fig. 3. Development plans - Transportation (source Erik Petr us)
Fig. 4. Urban type of development (source Eri k Petrus)
22 Development Plans of Townhouses in the European Context
Ing. arch. Erik Petrus
Tab. 1. Comparison of development plans of selected countries (source Erik Petrus)
239th ACAU 2020 conference papers
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.