Row houses of the past and of the future
Row houses emerged in Europe in the 16th century. They are used when medium density housing is to be provided. They are also known as terraced houses or linked houses. They are generally identical or rather it would be preferable to say that they are mirror images with shared side walls.
Countries where row houses are popular
Row houses are found all across the world. They are very popular in Europe and Latin America. Some good examples of row housing can be found in North America and Oceania. In Europe, United Kingdom and France are popular for row houses or terraced houses. In North America, they are widespread. Cities such as Montreal, Toronto and Halifax in Canada have extensive examples of terraced housing. Cities with terraced housing in United States include Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and other cities. Malaysia and Singapore are also known for a different variety of row houses.
Examples of Row housing projects across the world
Row houses in England
Grosvenor Square in London was one of the earliest terraces in England. The Great Fire of London in 1666 destroyed a lot of property. This gave a rise for an urgent housing need which was met by building terraced houses. Victorian or Georgian architectural style was generally used in the design of terraced houses. Park Crescent, Regent’s Park in London is another good example of row housing.
Row houses in India
Row houses were first built in the city of Chandigarh by Le Corbusier. They were built with an intention to provide low-cost housing. Le Corbusier wanted the residents to feel the happiness of having an independent home with their little garden in the front.
One of the newest project I found interesting was the one at Karad, a town in Maharashtra. The project aims to build 68 row houses. The project has been designed by a construction company called Kachchhi Constructions which is based in Hyderabad. What fascinates me is the elegant design of row houses. The architect Javed Kachchhi has used contemporary architectural style keeping the clients needs in mind. The township offers a number of amenities and facilities such as clubhouse, swimming pool and a beautifully landscaped garden. Overall it is an amazing design scheme.
Row houses in Northern Ireland
Initially, row houses in Northern Ireland were built to house working class people. One of the examples of row housing in Northern Ireland is the one in Peckham Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland. This was built in 1981. They bricked up windows and doors to deter vandals. These houses have now been restored.
Row houses in Montreal, Canada
A large number of row houses can be found in Montreal Canada. Row houses remained a dominant type of housing during the post-war period. The row houses were subdivided into duplexes and triplexes.
Redesigning Abids, Hyderabad | Urban Design Project
Urban design is complex but fascinating. At least I find it to be exciting and challenging since urban designers get to shape the lifestyles of the people. I would like to discuss one of the urban design projects I did in Architecture college in a group. We were a group of 12 students, all of us skilled in different areas. When we began, we felt the project work was intimidating and that it was too early for us to be working on one. I am going to be writing a series of articles of how we dealt with this project, the design process that we followed and all the survey methods that we used. It was a great experience.
Aim of the Project:
Conservation of the original market character by restricting to various patterns, colours, to create a scenario that invites tourists without disturbing the old and traditional built forms to relate to the original concepts. We are aiming at Sustainability…Sustaining and improving the living standards and reviving the importance of the commercial hub in terms of commercial activity.
We listed out the target issues in terms of Sustainable Development. Listing aims of the project is the first and most important thing to do before beginning any kind of project. This gave us a clear understanding of the direction in which we should be progressing.
This is the design process we followed for redesigning the commercial hub. We had a brainstorming session with our group and came up with all the possible approaches we could take to design the project.
Stage One: Case study of 1,000,000 sq m of area in the centre of commercial hub (studied land use pattern)
Stage Two: Detailed Study and Analysis of the Critical Zone for Redesign
Abids is one of the oldest commercial hub in the Hyderabad city. Abids constitutes the dwellings of Upper middle class families. People from all over the city came to shop jewellery and textiles at Abids. With the decentralisation of the commercial markets, the crowd coming to Abids has lessened as compared to what it was earlier. The good thing about Abids is that it still has a unique shopping market which other places don’t have. This is what we identified as the unique selling point for the regeneration of Abids. To regenerate, it is essential to identify issues and come up with solutions that could enhance the functioning of the commercial hub and help restoring it to its original character.
Here are the issues that we identified:
- Traffic issue
- Lack of convenient Parking
- Scope of redesign of facades
- Organizing and redesigning streetscape
- Informal activity
- No recreational area
Stage Three: Major focused area selected for redesign
How to design a retaining wall? | RCC Design
Main parts of Retaining Wall
The stem and base are the main parts of a cantilever type of retaining wall. The toe is the front portion and heel is the back portion. The stem is supported at the base and the wall tapers towards the top.
Generally the height of the wall known and approximate dimensions are required to be assumed.
The length of the base is between 0.4 to 0.7 times the height of the wall. Toe to base ratio is 1:4. The thickness of the base slab shall be assumed to be little more than the thickness of the stem at the bottom. The minimum thickness of the stem shall be 200mm for construction purposes.
Earth pressure on wall
A length of one metre of the wall is considered for design.
Earth levelled up to the top of wall:
From Rankine’s theory of earth pressure
P = total pressure on wall acting at H/3 from the base
H = total height in metres
W = weight or density of earth in kN/m3
Φ = angle of repose of earth
Stability of retaining wall
The assumed trial section of the wall shall be checked for stability. Stability check is required for (i) overturning and (ii) sliding. In both the cases the factor of safety shall not be less than 1.5.
1. Factor of safety for overturning
(Moment due to load of wall)/(Moment due to force P) ≥ 1.5
2. Factor of safety for sliding
(Total load of wall x μ)/Force P ≥ 1.5
Smart Meters | The next generation devices
Smart meters are next generations devices that help you measure the consumption of electricity and gas. It is different from AMR – traditional Automatic Metering reading in a way that it enable two way communication between the meter and the central system. These smart meters are gaining popularity in the west. They are used for monitoring the energy and gas consumption as well as for billing purposes.
Europe has introduced smart meters that are based on Open smart grid protocol (OSGP) which has the ability to reduce load, disconnect and reconnect remotely. The research conducted in the UK on the usage of smart meters showed that smart meters were being confused with energy meters. They are being used by 1 in 3 homes in the UK. It has been estimated that £300 million could be saved annually if the smart meters are actively used by the people.1 Although it is also important that people actively pay attention to their lifestyle that demand heavy energy consumption.
Smart meters are being used across the world. The aim of using smart meters is to initiate the creation of Energy-Efficient Economy. A study was conducted which showed that homeowners consumption of electricity was reduced by 3-5%.2
A third of smart meter customers saving up to £75 a year, British Gas says http://t.co/zoFRgaMD3H
— Guardian Environment (@guardianeco) January 24, 2014
Dream Home turning into a nightmare
I took quite some time to write this article. I am really troubled with the idea of people wanting to design their own homes without the help of a Architects or Engineers. It has been really tough telling people that every project is different and needs to be designed accordingly. Every site has different characteristics and hence the design differs.
People are more focused on saving a few thousands that they would have to pay to the experts for getting all the drawings right and in perfect order. They want to do it themselves. For some reason, they believe that they could do a better job than the experts themselves.
I am a professional and I truly appreciate people wanting to participate in the design of their homes, but the participation is limited to suggestions and discussions. The participation of people involves telling the architect about what they imagine their dream house to be. It should be borne in mind that people might have an idea of what they want their dream house to look like but they will never be able to create it. Try me! Describe what you want your house to look like and leave it to me and I will come up with something that will fill your heart with joy.
This is only because I have studied for 7 long years which has helped me develop my design skills. I create what my clients dream and feel. When you describe your ideas to an Architect, he knows exactly what you are looking at and what you want. He is a technical person and a designer and knows how he could turn your dream into a reality.