Brit Boxes: The Maisonette Typology

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On our travels in the UK we discovered types of buildings we’d never seen before. Some great, some not so great, but all fascinating and eye opening - proving that there are many more ways to build that what we’re familiar with. Today we’ll introduce a new typology we’ve never seen in the Western US; the Maisonette. These are basically a row of townhouses stacked on top of another row of townhouses.

Most of the time we encountered these on Council Estates - public housing owned by the London County Council. At its mid-century peak, about half of all English citizens lived in publicly owned housing and much of this post-war legacy remains. In many cases, we found a configuration of small-footprint tower (typically four units per floor) combined with a low-rise “sidecar” of one or more rows of maisonettes. This created a nice variety of tall flat blocks with breathing room and tree canopy around them.

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