City Living: Exploring the Modern Rowhouse Typology

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Virginia Tech

The traditional rowhouse form was a result of economical use of available space and materials that provided its occupants a home that fulfilled functional and societal needs. The result was a series of rooms along a travel corridor with a distinct underlining organization. The typology was established by certain characteristics of spatial configuration, constructional methods and ordering systems that kept the building economical. Popular attempts to accommodate modern needs into these buildings have lead to implementing the "open-plan" concept and creating a series of floors verses a series of rooms.

This thesis explores the rowhouse within the modern context of Washington D.C. and attempts to redefined the typology for new construction. The desire is to resort back to the historical relevance of the individual room and create a typology appropriate for modern single-family needs. Four empty sites, each with their own context and conditions within the cityscape, are used to create four individual rowhouses that exemplify this new typology. The proposed row houses exhibit architectural structuralism and phenomenology, resulting in four rowhouses that complete the context they are set in, yet emerge with their own identity.

rowhouse, typology, room, Washington D.C., Architecture