Book Review - Narrow Houses

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Title: Narrow Houses – New directions in efficient design.

Author/s: Avi Friedman.

Photographer/s: Sue Barr, David Biagi, J. Brandajs, C. Dethier, James Dow, Steven Evans, João Ferrand, Scott Frances, Dennis Gilbert-View, Art Grice, Bob Gundu, Hiroyuki Hirai, Anice Hoachlander, Brian Mackay-Lyons, Enrique Mínguez Martínez, Marcelo Nunes, Erhand Pfeiffer, Greg Richardson, Antonio López Sánchez, Kei Sugino, Bill Timmerman, Anthony Vizzari, Ger van de Vlugt, Paul Warchol, Wade Zimmerman.

Editor: Laurie Manfra.

Art director: Paul Wagner.

Size: 198mm by 292mm, 238p.

Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press, New York.

Publisher www:

WoodSolutions Narrow Houses cover

 Notes: Other titles by the author include Fundamentals of Sustainable Dwellings (2012), A Place in Mind: the search for authenticity (2010), Innovative Houses: concepts for sustainable living (2013), and Sustainable: houses with small footprints (2015) among others.

As global populations rise and increasing numbers of people are transitioning into an urban lifestyle, architects have to re-examine the age-old problem of fitting more people in less space. In this book, Avi Friedman examines in detail one of the oldest and most pervasive solutions to this problem: the townhouse, also known as the terraced house or more simply as the narrow house.

The first section of this book contains 28 examples of modern houses that have a street frontage of no more than six metres. From atypical building sites in Nova Scotia (16) and Switzerland (46) to highly modern urban living in Tokyo (62) and Washington DC (136), many different examples of narrow housing from different countries are shown, each complete with illustrations, floor plans, full colour photographs and information on the design/building process. All of these houses, whether a new construction or a renovation, exhibits the possibilities inherent to reduced-front housing, which the second section of the book outlines in detail.

This second section comprises of four essays examining the design, footprints, interiors and the history of narrow housing respectively. Each essay contributes to a remarkably well-rounded overview of townhouses and the benefits that they can offer to trade off against the reduced footprint.

This book is a beautiful object in its own right, with gorgeous photographs on nigh on every page, and the smooth, uncluttered layout invites any reader to leaf through. Friedman is an experienced author who provides a concise and approachable introduction to the evolving subject of townhouses.

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