Low rise housing is a development primarily that contains two or more dwellings and is no more than two stories in height. Low rise housing focuses more on the livability and person-centered design approach. It aims to provide shelter to different types of families living in the community. The planning and design revolve around the context of the location with external factors that affect the organization of the typology. The design must comply with the needs and safety of the users as well as how the architecture behind it promulgates with the considerations.

Here are 10 things to remember when designing a low rise housing:

1. Density/Population

The density of a certain area must be taken well into account when designing a low rise housing. From here you will determine the floor space ratio that you have to provide for each dwelling as well as the layout on how to properly plan the flow of each house. Dwelling sizes should respond to dwelling types. In areas of lower density, dwellings are expected to have a larger floor area. Here is an example of how the density allows the planning of low rise housing.

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2. Location and Accessibility

The location of building a low rise housing will help in setting the building envelopes such as the heights and setbacks for they define the scale and enclosure of the street. Knowledge of the local context and character of an area involves an objective assessment of the housing’s ability to be in harmony with its surrounding context. Access around buildings for maintenance needs to be considered in the building design. Other than this, the design must allocate parking spaces to vehicle and bicycle owners.

3. Policies

Certain places of development impose standards for housing. The design of the low rise housing must be able to follow policies enacted on that certain area to maintain the regulations followed to achieve order. Policies will help to assess design considerations without overlapping the whole neighborhood. A subdivision in Markham, Ontario affected the housing design because of regulation about single-family-use house zoning.

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4. Amenities and Recreational Areas

The amenities must also be considered when designing a low rise housing. Every planner must see to it that there are available amenities or recreational spaces within the vicinity of the low rise housing since the dwellers will spend their spare and leisure time in these areas. People will look for outdoor gathering spaces they can interact with.

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5. Weather and Climate

One must also remember the weather and climate when designing low rise housing. Whether it is tropical or a four-season country, it is important to take it into account for certain areas with weather conditions that also need a different design of housing. For example for typhoon prone areas, they require a different roof design as well as ventilation for it to withhold the harsh weather and heavy downpour during rainy seasons. The design should be able to adjust to the location’s orientation of the sun and natural ventilation.

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6. Safety

The design must consider the siting, subdivision, and orientation towards the safety of the housing block. It must provide a pedestrian-friendly and well-planned vehicle circulation to avoid accidents to the residents. Visual privacy as well must be included to ensure safety, it allows residents within low rise housing to occupy their internal private spaces without being overlooked. It must balance the need for views with the need for privacy. Here are examples of providing visual privacy and safety with privacy screens.

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7. Noise and Pollution

When designing ensure that outside noise levels are controlled to acceptable levels. Dwellings that are located near major roads and rail lines, and beneath flight paths are likely to be subject to noise and poor air quality. The design must create a physical separation between the noise or pollution source. Noisy areas within buildings, including the entries and circulation spaces, should be located next to each other and other quitter areas next to or above quitter areas. The design development must provide building acoustic attenuation to reduce noise levels from any noise resources. Below is an example of a noise barrier.

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8. Diversity

Low rise housing is an architectural typology that advocates diversity, one should remember to have a universal design that enables people to continue living in the same home as they grow old or as their lifestyle changes. Universally designed dwellings benefit all members of the community. Incorporating flexible and universal dwelling design into low rise housing allows a building to accommodate a diverse range of lifestyle needs.

9. Landscape

Landscaping of low rise housing developments allows the integration of the surrounding streetscape and context. The design must involve the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of all external spaces. It complements the existing features of a site and contributes to the building’s setting.

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10. Sustainability

It is essential that low rise housing must be sustainable and have an efficient design, and is about the ability of the dwelling to manage its carbon footprint, reduce energy consumption, and provide sustainable energy sources. The provision of alternatives to the sources of energy such as solar panels, rain collection systems, and the like will likely reduce the overall consumption of energy.

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It started with a spark and the next thing she knows, she’s on fire – that’s how Vimaluz Amairah or Vam started her journey with architecture. She is in constant curiosity about the world and how to make it better to the core of her profession as a future architect – the human person.