Except an open court off which three or

Except an open court off which three or

Except for the fairly elaborate chieftains’ houses, Greek dwellings remained simple through classical times. A passageway led from the street into an open court off which three or four rooms were reached, the whole being fairly small in scale. The Roman houses, as seen, for example, at Pompeii, also stood at the street’s edge.

Past a vestibule was an open space called the atrium, from which the sleeping rooms were reached; a colonnaded garden often stood in back. In ancient Rome most people lived in the equivalent of apartment houses, three to five stories high, with apartments ranging from three to six rooms; some were like tenements, others were elaborate. At ground level were rows of small shops. The rich had huge villas outside the cities that were composed of living quarters and pleasure pavilions.IV. Houses of Medieval EuropePrint sectionThis comparative sophistication in housing disappeared during the so-called Dark Ages in Europe. Although castles and primitive manors housed many people, most of the remaining population were packed into simple, unsanitary dwellings huddled within the walls of small cities and towns.

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The countryside was unsafe, and agriculture and population both declined; the prosperous farms of classical antiquity disappeared. Slowly, after AD1000, conditions improved, first around the great monasteries and then in the expanding cities. The rise of a prosperous mercantile class resulted in the construction of large town houses and in due time country manors.

Comparatively peaceful conditions brought some improvement in housing for farm serfs, but the living conditions of the poor town-dweller continued, on the whole, to be miserable. By the end of the Middle Ages the concept of the palace had evolved from the idea of the grand town house. These palaces were elaborate dwellings for ranking ecclesiastics, merchant princes, or ruling families; they might occupy a whole block and contain, in addition to ceremonial and private apartments, quarters for large numbers of retainers and hangers-on.V. From the Renaissance to the 19th CenturyPrint sectionThe palace was perfected during the Renaissance and remains one of architecture’s most enduring images, a dignified, large-scale city element that has been adapted and repeated ever since. Palaces were first built in Florence, Italy, and then throughout the Western world. In France the palace concept was combined with that of the late medieval castle to produce the French country chateauthe setting, with its gardens and fountains, of aristocratic life from the 16th century onward.

In England the lord’s manor became the squire’s hall, the center of an estate that often included villages composed of the not uncomfortable, thatched-roof homes of local farmers. Meanwhile, in the cities and towns, some attempts were made to improve the housing of ordinary folk by building more or less uniform dwellings; on the whole, however, standards remained below those of antiquity for a long time.VI. 19th-Century HousingPrint sectionThe Industrial Revolution brought some relief to the city poor in the form of reasonable well-built rows of small houses for laborers, especially in England, although these in time often decayed into slums. The middle class in most Western countries, able to buy land and to build, rapidly expanded into fairly comfortable large houses, the styles of which depended largely on local tradition. New transportation systems, and the desire of the middle classes to own a plot of land, produced suburbs, where the majority of independently sited family houses are found today.

As population increased, technology responded. In the U.S., for example, the balloon frame was invented in the 1830s, making solid, satisfactory housing possible through its ingenious assembly of standardized pieces of lumber chiefly the familiar two-by four.

In the cities, however, tenements persisted, often near the elegant mansions of the rich. The Industrial Revolution also spawned the dream of having one’s own house irrespective of social or economic status. By the late 19th century the construction of houses had become a major architectural subject, studied by ranking architects. Books with drawings of both simple and elaborate houses were perennially popular, and domestic architecture was discussed in the new architectural journals as well. Houses became, for many, symbols of status.

Cottages and bungalows, small one-story dwellings each on its own land, proliferated. Large ornate houses became fairly common, closely adjacent to their neighbors in the older cities, standing alone in the newer towns and the suburbs. Distinctive styles of domestic architecture rose in popularity and waned. The technology of the support systemsheating, cooling, and water supply, for exampleimproved rapidly. Once the elevator became available (after the American Civil War), the tall apartment house became increasingly possible. Workers’ suburbs appeared, their streets solidly built up with two- and three-family frame houses; building speculators thrived.

Dealing in real estate quickly became a major occupation, and houses began to change hands more frequently as families became more mobile.VII. 20th-Century HousingPrint sectionHouses that broke with historical architectural styles were slow to be accepted. As early as 1889 the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright built a house embodying new concepts of spatial flow from one room to another. He and others, both in Europe and in the United States, soon moved toward a domestic architectural style of metric forms and simplified surfaces largely free of decoration.

Contemporary changes in painting and sculpture were allied to this movement, and by the 1920s modern architecture, though by no means universally accepted, had arrived. Glass, steel, and concrete reinforced with steel gave architects many new design options, and by the mid-20th century the modern house was commonplace. Glass boxes, freely curving styles, and stark, austere geometric forms were all possible; but at the same time traditional styles persisted, and in the U.

S. many homeowners found a more or less standard, one-floor, two- or three-bedroom ranch house satisfactory.VIII. Houses of the Far EastPrint sectionHouse types in India vary greatly according to region, climate, and local tradition. The villages have courtyard houses as well as simple, single-volume dwellings; in the cities,

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