Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Horizontal Densification - Living Quality at a Low Cost


Courtyard houses and terraced houses are the central topics of a newly released publication on the forms of horizontal densification in domestic architecture. Besides the history of these building types, the various types, quality criteria and their implementation within the purview of the numerous concepts of urban development are dealt with in detail. The book, published in German with the aid of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), thus offers a unique review of a residential building type that - once again - assumes increasing significance in our society.

Forms of horizontal densification are accommodation units constructed side by side in which rooms that lie on top of each other belong to the same unit of flats. They are also an answer to the increase in uncontrolled development of one-family houses in rural areas and an alternative to vertical forms of densification - e.g. high-rise buildings - in the cities. In his newly published work "Low Rise - High Density. Horizontale Verdichtungsformen im Wohnbau" [Forms of horizontal densification in domestic architecture], Dr. Helmut Schramm of the Vienna University of Technology examines this variform domestic architectural type in detail.

Long Established, but Newly Discovered

Forms of horizontal densification are in their two most well-known types – the courtyard house and the terraced house – not new domestic building types.

The courtyard house, whose living quarter encloses a central open space, already has a 5000-year-old tradition. It originated in India and China and soon spread to large parts of the Middle East and Southern Europe. The origin of the terraced house is significantly more recent. Its first types already existed in the 16th century, but the great breakthrough only came in the 2nd half of the 19th century in the form of factory settlements for workers of large industrial companies.

Stop the Urban Sprawl and Retain the Quality of Life

Both housing types experienced a comeback at the beginning of the 20th century. Helmut Schramm explains the causes: "The rising desire for property, self-realisation, privacy and distance created ever-enlarging residential units that increasingly destroyed the rural space. Therefore, forms of horizontal densification became alternatives for new urban models.

The reason was that solutions were sought which fulfilled the personal requirements and at the same time enabled a densification of the housing unit." But the saving of costs also made this method of construction favourable. It was possible to construct infrastructural facilities such as streets, drainage, electricity and water more concentrated and standardise the components. These forms of construction offered a high quality of life and economic advantages.

In his richly illustrated book, Helmut Schramm depicts the success especially of the terraced house through numerous European examples from the 1920s and 1930s. These include the workers’ settlement Kiefhoek built in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Les Quartiers Modernes Fruges in Pessac, France, planned by Le Corbusier, and the settlements of Törten or Dammerstock built by Walter Gropius in Germany, in Dessau and Karlsruhe respectively, in the same manner as the Werkbund Housing Estate in Vienna, Austria and the Weißenhof Housing Estate in Stuttgart, Germany.

In addition, Helmut Schramm elucidates by means of a comprehensive typology eight fundamental types of the courtyard house and six types of the terraced house. Interestingly, in his book Schramm also dares to determine the quality criteria of settlements and buildings that can be counted among the forms of horizontal densification. Schramm explains: "It is difficult to judge objectively the quality of a building. Not only is it perceived subjectively, but also altered by comprehensive influences. Nonetheless, I have defined such criteria also for better comparability of various types of domestic architecture." These criteria are flexibility and variability, passage, spatial structure, privacy, the integration of garages and low energy concepts.

A chapter on the use of horizontal densification in the framework of urban development concepts and another one on strategy to cope with modern developments, like for instance communication technology, complete the impressive work. With the support of the FWF, Helmut Schramm was able to conclude the findings of his postdoctoral thesis appealingly and to present it to a large audience.

Dr. Helmut Schramm | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Architecture and Construction:

nachricht Rock solid: Carbon-reinforced concrete from Augsburg
11.10.2016 | Universität Augsburg

nachricht Heating and cooling with environmental energy
22.09.2016 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

All articles from Architecture and Construction >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>