WIT Press

The Dwelling \“margin” And Housing Density: Design Considerations For Sustainable Multifamily Housing Sites


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WIT Press


B. A. Kazimee


\“The dwelling is a function of its surroundings and relationship to its surroundings. Its state of harmony depends entirely on its harmony with surroundings” (Chris Alexander). Speaking of \“margin” and \“marginality of proximity” one can immediately come to the conclusion that the matter under discussion is of the least important issue, or remedial in nature that requires no point for consideration. I chose the term \“margin,” not to advance an intellectual discourse in this paper, but from a professional and egalitarian concern for the way the perimeters of homes are designed. This paper is about the design and identity of unique site design properties that support very important tangential territories in multi family housing. It is customary that the designers for most part, deem the areas around the edge of the homes unimportant and thus focus always completely on the building as an object in its own right. This paper makes a careful analysis of \“The Dwelling Margin,” and its role and power in shaping a truly responsive environment that satisfies the needs of its population in housing development. The defining qualities of these in-between spaces, and their character when spelled out correctly, can project a true extension of the inhabitant’s personification where the primary communal/neighboring contact can be initiated. The principles presented in this paper are drawn from field studies in several urban housing sites, which provide a strong base for this study. Several conventional housing examples in Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, British Columbia, are included for discussion and comparison. A systematic analysis of these environments, carried out by the author, reveals that not only were the spaces between homes unique but that this uniqueness found expression in the personal satisfaction of those who occupies them.