EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS ARTICLE IS POSTED AS A PDF FILE. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE DUPLEX HOUSE REVIEW REPORT (PDF)
As demographic and economic forces create new demands for multi-family housing, the design and building community faces the challenge of creating products that will appeal to a very diverse market. Projections for the increases in non-traditional households that range from young people just starting their careers to aging baby boomers are staggering.
While large multi-family projects will certainly continue to be built, there appears to be an opportunity to create smaller, well-designed duplexes and four-plexes that gracefully integrate with existing single-family homes.
The key components for successful placement in either an older neighborhood or a new planned development are careful consideration of scale and materials that allow for the building to blend with the other homes. These multi-family designs must be respectful of the context where they are being built.
Actually, the mixture of multi-family and single-family homes in the same area is not a new concept. Many older neighborhoods successfully combined such diverse housing options by simply utilizing consistent exterior materials, along with appropriate scale and proportion.
Our House Review design team has responded this month with a variety of solutions, ranging from an infill project that resurrects this traditional idea of mixing housing types to thoughtful new designs that have carefully addressed the critical need for privacy with attached homes. (See one example, below, and click to download the duplex House Review report PDF here):