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Narrow Houses: New Directions in Efficient Design [Hardcover]

by Avi Friedman
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 3, 2010 1568988737 978-1568988733 1
Since the beginning of the housing boom of the 1950s, the size of the average North American house has steadily grown while the size of the average family has decreased. Today, a growing number of homebuyers seeking smaller, more efficient residential designs are rediscovering a centuries old housing prototype: the narrow house. Measuring twenty-five-feet wide or less, these "infill" or "skinny" houses, as they are often called, are on the rise in cities and suburbs around the world. The benefits of building small and narrow are numerous: greater land-use efficiency, less building material, fewer infrastructure costs, lower utility bills, and flexible layouts. This building type creates environmentally sensible houses that allow homeowners to live within their means. Narrow Houses presents a thorough overview of the practical considerations of designing a narrow-front home, including siting, floor arrangements, footprint, and interior and exterior finishing. The book documents twenty-eight innovative examples of narrow houses from around the world designed by today's foremost architects. Project data including floor plans and extensive interior and exterior photography demonstrate the inherent flexibility of this housing model and the many possibilities for adapting these homes to the constraints of site, climate, budget, family size, and other needs.

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Narrow Houses: New Directions in Efficient Design + Nano House: Innovations for Small Dwellings + Small Eco Houses: Living Green in Style
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Editorial Reviews


"When it comes to houses less than 25 feet wide, facades are deceiving: Savvy architecture makes the interiors feel airy, even spacious." --Details, March 2011

"The Kate Mosses of residential design... Clearly, six metres - the widest measure that defines "narrow front" - is all that's really needed." --Azure, February 2011

About the Author

Avi Friedman is a world-renowned architect and director of the Affordable Homes Program at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He has served on the National Housing Research Committee of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press; 1 edition (November 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568988737
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568988733
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 7.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #728,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Avi Friedman received his Bachelor's degree in Architecture and Town Planning from the Israel Institute of Technology, his Master's Degree from McGill University, and his Doctorate from the University of Montréal. In 1988, he co-founded the Affordable Homes Program at the McGill School of Architecture where he teaches. He also holds an Honorary Professor position in Lancaster University in the U.K. Avi is known for his housing innovation and in particular for the Grow Home and Next Home designs. He is the author of 12 books and was a syndicated columnist for the CanWest Chain of daily newspapers. He is the principal of Avi Friedman Consultants Inc. and the recipient of numerous awards including the Manning Innovation Award and the World Habitat Award. In the year 2000 he was selected by Wallpaper magazine as 1 of 10 people from around the world "most likely to change the way we live."

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Narrow house design November 7, 2010
By Mortone
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is one of the best books on narrow footprint house. There is page after page of some of the most interesting examples of narrow footprint houses that are not row, or town houses. There are plenty of photos and floor plans to see. A great source for examples of houses for narrow lots, or tiny sites.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of good solutions! February 13, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm gonna build a house on a narrow lot and this book helped my architect to understand my needs. It's possible to build something modern, spacious and beautiful!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this book was much more than i expected May 7, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
more than a practical guide on design for the narrow house, the examples include innovative solutions from iconic architects like ban or ando. i did not expect the terrific exposition and design guide/essay of 40 some pages in the back. thorough and thought provoking, the materials can launch a designer towards better solutions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
"Narrow Houses: New Directions in Efficient Design" by Avi Friedman (Princeton Architectural Press) deal with another kind of situation altogether. The shoebox home. Defining `narrow' as a structure with a street-facing facade of 25 feet or less, Friedman highlights a broad array of solutions for maximizing usable space while creating the necessary flow for the limited environment.

Houses from Amsterdam to Japan (where one pictured home is a mere nine feet wide!) are showcased, many using the latest modern, cutting edge design, but all with a mind towards maximizing use of open space, vertical integration and that ever elusive `flow' to make things seem imminently livable despite the cramped space. Lots of stairways and glass windows and walls are used to open up these spaces, as Friedman cites examples from freestanding structures to rows of tiny fronted townhomes.

Beyond the examples, Friedman explains the reasoning behind the re-emergence of the narrow home movement in terms of environment and economic and social impact as well as the issues to be aware of (footprint, duplexes, yard space, etc.) when dealing with this type of development. As urban areas get more crowded, (though narrow homes are even expanding to suburban and certain rural areas), the issues presented here will become more and more useful to builders everywhere. Depending where you are on the continuum, you may already be there. If not, read up.
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