Re: Re: Density, detached vs. attached
From: tom ponessa (
Date: Thu, 26 Jan 95 11:11 CST
Eric Hart writes

>      At Riverside we want to build with strawbale construction, and
>there is no reason why four attached units can't be built post and beam
>like yours would be and be on one level.
Great! I was hoping for just such an example. If your codes and
inspectors allow this sort of thing then you get all the advantages.
Unfortunately up here (and I was approaching the question through
my experince with the Ontario and Canadian building codes) you would
never get the thing built. I assume there is variation between states
where one might allow your idea and one might not? If so, then some
will have to go to standard construction. Banks and insurers might
also force "alternatives" out of the picture. I know for a fact that
up here I have more latitude by building a single home.

>Your assumption that all attached housing is row
>housing one reason people never consider it.  People just immediately
>dismiss the possibility of having shared walls because they have a
>stereotypical image of what it is and aren't open minded enough to look
>at alternatives which have been designed and built.

I never assumed ALL attached housing is row housing. Perhaps I
should have called it shared wall housing - I wasn't aware that the
term "row housing" would cause such grief. Anyway the point I was trying
to make was that most low rise habitations of the party wall variety
use standard construction and many cohousers here (cohousing-l) are
using developers and banks which only understand standard construction.
Therefore if I can stay away from standard practice I have a better
chance of being "green" and in MOST cases (not yours) I will be
building a single dwelling. I was trying to show that there are
shared wall solutions that are not necessarily ecologically better
than single homes. The actual form of shared wall is irrelevant
to my argument.

I am perfectly aware of the more creative possibilities with
not-necessarily-row housing. I studied Danish co-housing design
with Jens Arnfred in 1985 and have kept my mind open ever since.
On the other hand Eric assumes people have a "stereotypical image"
(what is it?) that causes them to dismiss shared walls. They may,
but I believe the reasons are as varied and complex as the people.

I hope Eric keeps us posted on Riverside's progress and I would love
to know if there are "straw rows" (oops) anywhere. I recently heard of
an entire development by Sven Ferhe (sp?) in straw. Any references?

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