Multifamily housing, also known as multiple dwelling units or MDU, refers to the sub-category of housing that consists of several dwelling units within the same structure or in a complex. These multiple units may either be stacked atop each other or placed adjacent to one another.

The most common type of multifamily housing is an apartment building, however other types include condominium, townhouse, duplex, triplex and quadruplex, which may not necessarily be rental housing.

Here is a list of 15 multi-family housing projects that everyone should know about:

1. Pierhouse | Multifamily Housing

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1_Pierhouse_©David Sundberg| Esto Location: Brooklyn, New York Architects: Marvel Architects

Situated in the heart of Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Pierhouse acts as an extension of the park with green terraces and varied pathways on the west façade, cascading towards it. The east façade is characteristic of the surrounding urban fabric and has pedestrian pathways that provide direct public access to the park. 

Thus, instead of becoming a barrier, the design embraces the surrounding landscape and becomes a link between the street and the open space.

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2_Pierhouse_©David Sundberg| Esto
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3_Pierhouse_©David Sundberg| Esto

2. Wind Tower

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4_Wind Tower_©AGi architects Location: Salmiya, Kuwait Architects: AGi architects

The idea of a traditional mid-eastern courtyard is explored vertically, where different volumes extrude out organically from a central space. In turn, borrowing light and life into it thus dramatically affecting the interior spaces.

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5_Wind Tower_©AGi architects
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6_Wind Tower_©AGi architects

3. Sprzeczna 4 | Multifamily Housing

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7_Sprzeczna_©Juliusz Sokołowski Location: Warsaw, Poland Architects: BBGK architects

Built as one of the initiatives to restore the Praga district, Sprzeczna 4, epitomizes prefabrication, a typology that was once a typical element of Polish landscapes until it was replaced by conventional building techniques. The red façade with angled balconies is an attempt at harmonizing with the surrounding geometry of streets and symbolizes the ageing of building materials.

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8_Sprzeczna_©Juliusz Sokołowski
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9_Sprzeczna_©Juliusz Sokołowski

4. Powerhouse

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10_Power House_©Sam Oberter Location: Philadelphia, United States Architects: ISA architects

Located in a gentrifying neighbourhood in Philadelphia, the massing for the project is done in such a way that it promotes diversity with its provision of varied types of units while addressing the scale and street life of the surroundings.

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11_Power House_©Sam Oberter
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12_Power House_©Sam Oberter

5. MLK Plaza | Multifamily Housing

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13_MLK Plaza_©architectmagazine Location: Bronx, New York Architects: Magnusson Architecture and Planning PC

Planned to provide an inclusive living environment, The MLK Plaza redefines affordable housing in the industrial area of southern Bronx with the abundant use of shared spaces and amenities to reflect upon the needs and health of the community.

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14_MLK Plaza_©architectmagazine
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6. Jefferson Park Apartments

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16_Jefferson Park Apartments_©architectmagazine Location: Cambridge, MA, USA
Architects: Abacus Architects + Planners

Built as a replacement to the former public housing development, Jefferson Park apartments, knits the neighbourhood together by adding community spaces like landscaped courtyards, walkways, yards lined across the extension of the local street, Rindge Avenue, thus, meticulously defining the transition from private to public spaces.

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17_Jefferson Park Apartments_©architectmagazine
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7. Via 57 West

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19_Via 57 West_©architectmagazine Location: New York, USA
Architects: Bjarke Ingels Group

Designed as an amalgamation of the European Perimeter block and Manhattan skyscraper, the design has the merits of both, the intimacy and community life of the former as well the height and airiness of the latter. Thus, the improbable coalescence of the two is a paradigm of a new typology that celebrates high density along with green open spaces.

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20_Via 57 West_©architectmagazine
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8. Cherokee Lofts

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22_Cherokee Lofts_©Tara Wujcik Location: Los Angeles, California Architects: Pugh and Scarpa architects

A reflection of the cultural and environmental context of the district, the building features a dynamic perforated metal façade which acts as both a climate-responsive element as well as a privacy screen, thus enhancing the functionality as well the form of the building.

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23_Cherokee Lofts_©Tara Wujcik
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24_Cherokee Lofts_©Tara Wujcik

9. XS House

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25_XS House_©Sam Oberter Location: Philadelphia, United States Architects: ISA architects

Revitalizing an extremely narrow, unused site, XS house is a seven-storey residential complex that makes most of the site with the use of mezzanines, bays and double levelled units while maintaining a single-core stairwell layout. The staircase provides access to the upper units while the lower units are accessed directly from the street thus encouraging pedestrian activity along the busy road.

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26_XS House_©Sam Oberter
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27_XS House_©Sam Oberter

10. Via Verde | Multifamily Housing

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28_Via Verde_©David Sundberg Location: Bronx, New York
Architects: Dattner Architects, Grimshaw

Situated on a reclaimed brownfield site in the Southern Bronx, Via Verde celebrates sustainable, healthy and community living. A multi-purpose garden serves as a unifying element of the design, which starts at the ground level but extends upwards as a series of terraces, ultimately towards the community roof garden.

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29_Via Verde_©David Sundberg
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30_Via Verde_©David Sundberg

11. Hunter’s view housing blocks 5&6

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31_Hunter’s View housing blocks_©Bruce Damonte Location: San Francisco, United States Architects: Paulett Taggart architects

Built around a central courtyard, the design comprises two L-shaped buildings per block to gain maximum street frontage. Each building consists of stacked multi-level units which resemble individual houses with a private or shared entrance, overlooking the courtyard, thus retaining a spatial and visual connection throughout.

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32_Hunter’s View housing blocks_©Bruce Damonte
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33_Hunter’s View housing blocks_©Bruce Damonte

12. Lofts at Mayo Park

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34_Lofts at Mayo Park_©Corey Gaffer Location: Rochester, Minnesota Architects: Snow Kreilich Architects

Located in a single-family residential neighbourhood on the banks of Zumbro river, and adjacent to Mayo Memorial park, the project integrates the various aspects of human scale and context into a homogenous apartment building. The planning and landscaping of the building are done in a way that it acts as an extension of the adjacent park as well the riverfront thus acknowledging social life in these areas.

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35_Lofts at Mayo Park_©Corey Gaffer
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36_Lofts at Mayo Park_©Corey Gaffer

13. Bill Sorro Community

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37_Bill Sorro Community_©Bruce Demonte Location: San Francisco, California Architects: Kennerly Architecture and Planning

Reviving an abandoned corner in the historic district of San Francisco, the design of the building evokes the diverse use of spaces and reflects upon the character of the neighbourhood while retaining affordability.  

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38_Bill Sorro Community_©Bruce Demonte
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39_Bill Sorro Community_©Bruce Demonte

14. Line Lofts

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40_The Line Lofts_©Bruce Demonte Location: Los Angeles, United States Architects: SPF architects

Located in one of the most active development corridors of LA, the design celebrates multilevel communication by interspersing the vertical circulation areas across the plan thus eliminating the sense of rigidity and repetition in the apartment building.

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41_The Line Lofts_©Bruce Demonte
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42_The Line Lofts_©Bruce Demonte

15. Terrace 459 | Multifamily Housing

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43_Terraces 459_© Location: Chicago, IL Architects: Landon Bone Baker architects

A mixed-income development, Terrace 459 is a sublime example of how precast concrete can be efficiently used to provide affordable and economical homes to a diverse set of people thus celebrating the social and cultural demographics of the place.

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Surabhi is a student of architecture and is trying to figure out how she can contribute to the field and society. She finds architectural writing as an escape to a world full of possibilities and hope. Her curiosity, zest to learn, explore and share, is what keeps her going.