5 Typologies of Multigenerational Family Homes
- Written by Hana Abdel
Rising living costs are relevant hurdles to young people, seeking a place to live, while much older generations might find it more difficult to settle into comfortable post-retirement settings. These general issues have been pushing forth a recurring solution, namely a return to multigenerational family living.
While communal living concepts and developments had been adopted in recent years, familial involvement is proving to be a financially, legally, and emotionally viable alternative.
Even though multigenerational family living is a norm and standard practice in most of the global south countries, it has also become increasingly relevant in Europe and North America. This is associated with the economic factor, but also with the cultural shifts brought on by immigrant communities. Most recently, this has translated into more than 9 million multigenerational family dwellings in the United Kingdom (2020) and 60 million households in the United States (2021).
Courtyards: The Heart of Multi-Generational Houses in India
Naturally, this sort of cohabitation affects translates in the layouts and typologies of the family home. Special attention is usually given by the architect to create a functional setting suitable for all. A family house is a space where different functions can be exercised without getting in each other’s way, where privacies can be maintained but most importantly where gatherings and transmission of cross-generational tales, information, and memorable experiences can take place.
Here are 14 examples of a few selected typologies of family homes from around the world.
The Vertical Family Home
Probably one of the most common typologies seen in large-family dwellings, the vertical building-like plan is a very versatile layout. It can be adapted to allow the dwellers to have individual apartments on different floors, making it possible for each to have their own facilities if preferred while maintaining proximity. In some cases, new floors can be added in time to accommodate a growing family. All in all, it is a pretty common build that generally takes up a smaller footprint.
Three Generation House / BETA office for architecture and the city
Hon Xen House / A+ Architects
One Family, Separate Wings
This often requires a larger initial footprint as it segments the living quarters into separated apartments or rooms on different sides of the house, potentially creating indoor/outdoor buffer zones that can be common leisure, spiritual spaces, or green areas for all to enjoy.
House BT / Research Studio Panin
Residence of Three Generations / MINOR lab
Villa Teruca, 2 Houses in Aravaca / EME157 estudio de arquitectura
As somewhat of a combination of the two previous types, it is most aptly represented in some East Asian houses. These dwellings, occupy smaller or irregular lots and are vertically set up with separate volumes, each containing a private sleeping or working quarter. These areas are often designated as quiet and private zones, whereas the void and in-between spaces become the shared kitchen, living, and even indoor greenery areas. The resulting vertical void also acts as a source of light and passive ventilation for the entire house. This renders some of the most dynamic and unique projects in terms of layouts.
Ha House / VTN Architects
CH House / ODDO architects
Ha Long Villa / VTN Architects
The Extented Family House
As not all extensions can be addressed by the addition of floors, many renovations of already-standing family homes suggest a-typical, context-adapted enlargements. The implementation of an offsetted building shell or of a smaller site-molded volume is quite common. Either a separate suite can be created, or an enveloping common area, which would then make it possible to reconfigure the remaining interior space into more private zones.
Multi-Generational House with a View / MWArchitekten
The Flexible Spatial Use
These Family dwellings seemingly suggest a regular single-family house plan with standard single functions. However, the configuration and projected use are envisioned more broadly and the spaces are kept minimal in furnishing. This allows the family members to utilize the spaces according to their needs in a manner adapted to their lifestyles. There is versatility in comprehension and use of the space.
Vikki’s Place / Curious Practice
Multigenerational House / Gautschi Lenzin Schenker Architects
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Cite: Hana Abdel. "5 Typologies of Multigenerational Family Homes" 01 May 2023. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/999351/five-typologies-of-multigenerational-family-homes> ISSN 0719-8884
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Multigenerational Family Living
Multigenerational family living refers to the practice of multiple generations of a family living together in the same household. It is a norm and standard practice in many countries, particularly in the global south. However, it has also become increasingly relevant in Europe and North America due to economic factors and cultural shifts brought on by immigrant communities.
Layouts and Typologies of Family Homes
Multigenerational family living affects the layouts and typologies of family homes. Architects pay special attention to creating functional settings suitable for all family members. The goal is to design a space where different functions can be exercised without getting in each other's way, where privacy can be maintained, and where gatherings and the transmission of cross-generational tales, information, and experiences can take place.
Typologies of Multigenerational Family Homes
The article mentions five typologies of multigenerational family homes:
The Vertical Family Home: This typology is commonly seen in large-family dwellings. It features a versatile layout that can be adapted to allow individual apartments on different floors. This allows each family member to have their own facilities while maintaining proximity.
One Family, Separate Wings: This typology involves segmenting the living quarters into separated apartments or rooms on different sides of the house. It may create indoor/outdoor buffer zones that can be common leisure or green areas for all to enjoy.
Stacked-up Family: This typology is commonly found in some East Asian houses. It involves vertically setting up separate volumes, each containing a private sleeping or working quarter. The shared spaces, such as the kitchen and living areas, are designated as void and in-between spaces. The resulting vertical void also acts as a source of light and passive ventilation for the entire house.
The Extended Family House: This typology addresses extensions of already-standing family homes. It suggests a-typical, context-adapted enlargements, such as the implementation of an offsetted building shell or a smaller site-molded volume. These extensions create separate suites or enveloping common areas, allowing for the reconfiguration of the remaining interior space into more private zones.
The Flexible Spatial Use: This typology suggests a regular single-family house plan with standard single functions. However, the configuration and projected use are envisioned more broadly, and the spaces are kept minimal in furnishing. This allows family members to utilize the spaces according to their needs in a manner adapted to their lifestyles.
These typologies demonstrate the various ways in which architects can design multigenerational family homes to accommodate the needs and preferences of different family members.
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