Until now, townhouse living has been considered an alternative for single-family housing in the capital area. However, according to the New Finnish Dream Home? study of the Aalto University Department of Architecture, the townhouse is also a functional alternative for those in different life situations and residents of blocks of flats.
'In addition to families with children, those living alone or together with one person are also interested in the townhouse as an alternative to living in a block of flats. The townhouse can be modified as needs and wishes for living diversify', says researcher Eija Hasu.
Indeed, instead of one, researchers suggest introducing three different building types; Mini, Flexi and Kaks+.
The Mini consists of small flats and enables living alone in the middle of the city, while Flexi is flexible to different life situations and can accommodate even a larger reconstituted family. Kaks+ responds well to the needs of an ageing couple and grows along with a young family.
The townhouse as a mode of living also appeals to a pioneering group of residents who would be willing to compromise on their living area due to environmental reasons. In addition to the transformability, the pioneers emphasised their residence's energy certificate, use of renewable energy in heating as well as house solutions with passive or null-energy consumption.
Building more densely
The townhouse has been planned to provide one solution for the extensive planning projects of the Helsinki region.
'The building type is suitable for building more densely around the existing building stock. As a new urban type of dwelling, the townhouse diversifies the housing selection alongside the traditional single detached houses, terraced houses and blocks of flats', explains Professor Hannu Huttunen, responsible for the townhouse study at Aalto University.
'At the same time with developing the townhouse as a building type, it is good to discuss a flexible application of building regulations, for instance from the viewpoints of accessibility and property sharing possibilities.
The research data consisted of expert interviews, questionnaire data from over 1 200 respondents and workshops enhancing this information. The Envi questionnaire was used to find out about attitudes towards environmental and energy issues as a part of an energy efficiency study on the townhouse building type. More than 1 000 persons aged 25–80 from the Helsinki region responded to the questionnaire.
Professor Hannu Huttunen, Department of Architecture, tel. +358 400 844 967, [email protected]
Researcher Eija Hasu, Department of Architecture, tel. +358 40 8456578, [email protected]
New Finnish Dream Home? study (in Finnish only)
New Finnish Dream Home? is an Aalto University study on living preferences regarding the townhouse building type. The study is a part of the multidisciplinary Habitat Components research project, which involves developing the townhouse building type with the Energy Efficient Townhouse research, teaching and development projects while taking future requirements for the design and construction of housing into account. The project is primarily funded by Aalto University and the Innovative City programme. Other funding bodies and partners include the City of Helsinki, the City Planning Department, the Building Regulation Department, the Executive Office and the Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland (ARA).