The 6 Types of Multi-Family Housing Architecture

Multi-family housing architecture comes in many shapes and forms. High-density to medium-density, glittering towers, and green neighborhoods, a multi-family structure can be rented by a single owner, divided into individual unit owners, or owned collectively by the community. If you are planning on building or investing in this property, it’s helpful to know the possible types of multi-family housing architecture to choose from.

As architectural designers, we have worked on many different multi-family structures. Each design combines welcoming residences, shared amenities, community areas, and green spaces to create enriching living environments. Let’s walk through the six types of multi-family housing architecture.

1. High-Rise Apartment Buildings

A high-rise apartment building is a towering structure designed to provide high-density housing with the most efficient use of land. High-rise apartments are typically greater than twelve floors and can rise upwards of fifty floors in some areas. In fact, many people see high-rise apartments as an opportunity for stacked luxury, layering amenities, and building services between apartments with ever-more-beautiful views above the city.

Contrary to popular belief, high-rise apartments often contain green spaces in the form of rooftop gardens, balconies, and indoor greenery. These provide a healthier and more uplifting lifestyle for the hundreds to thousands of families within each structure. High-rise apartment architecture can also consist of a single tower, multiple connected towers, or more creative layered structural designs to maximize sunlight and views for the residents.

2. Low-Rise Apartment Buildings

Low-rise apartment buildings are the most common type of multi-family housing architecture. You can find them in almost every city, big or small, providing medium-density housing in solo buildings and complexes. Low-rise apartments typically have 3-6 stories and focus on creating a sense of community amongst the residents. These properties often share open green spaces with playgrounds, laundry facilities, as well as picnic areas that bring people together.

Each building also houses between six and forty homes. This depends on the height and structural design with open courtyards and parking created between the buildings. In fact, there are low-rise apartments in every price range, from low-income housing to luxury multi-family communities. This leads to a very wide range of potential amenities and shared facilities.

3. Townhouse Buildings

Townhouse buildings are another type of multi-family housing architecture that features rows of homes with shared walls in between. Each home typically has two or three floors with an internal staircase. This creates the feel of individual single-family homes, sometimes with slices of a front garden and backyard for each house. In dense urban areas, townhouses are a practical and compact way to design many family homes on a single street. There are many highly sought-after townhouses in prestigious urban neighborhoods.

In more suburban areas, townhouses can help create efficient neighborhoods with shared amenities like internal courtyards, parks, as well as other common multi-family amenities like a clubhouse, pool, sports courts, and similar community perks. Townhouse neighborhoods are also more likely to be peaceful and gated.

4. Garden Apartments

Garden apartments are ground-floor apartments that open to a shared courtyard. The garden is typically a protected area, shielded from the road and strangers by the apartment buildings themselves, with parking and street access on the outside. This allows residents to enjoy beautiful green spaces and outdoor features through each back door, with or without individual patios.

In fact, there are several ways that garden apartments can be built. The most common way to offer garden apartments is to build low-rise apartment buildings around protected green-space courtyards, then designate the first-floor courtyard-facing units as garden apartments. However, you can also create one and two-story apartments designed to circle courtyards as a way to design a garden apartment community.

5. Mixed-Use Developments

Mixed-use developments create space for both residential and commercial units in the same building or developed community. The primary benefit of a mixed-unit development is to provide residents with an enriched experience, enjoying access to shopping and restaurants inside the residential community.

High-rise apartments sometimes have shops inside; small groceries or boutiques that make daily shopping more convenient. High-end apartment complexes sometimes have a small commercial area built into the community so that shopping and dining are within pleasant walking distance from each home. In urban areas, mixed-use developments are also a way to provide shopping areas on the first and second floors with trendy apartments on the upper stories.

6. Cooperative Housing

Co-ops, also known as cooperative housing, are a special type of multi-family housing architecture in which the building is owned and managed by the residents who live there. Co-ops are similar to condos but do not need to govern themselves communally rather than relying on a condo association structure.

Cooperative housing often contributes to the shared areas and pool resources to maintain or create amenities for the community. These multi-family buildings can be any structure but are most likely to be found in low-rise apartments and townhouses.

Plan Your Multi-Family Development with Ted Trout Architects

If you are planning to build a new multi-family development, architectural design will define everything about the experiences of your community’s future residents. Ted Trout Architects prioritizes comfortable, modern residential units, beautiful shared spaces, as well as enriching community design.

Contact us today for sustainable, uplifting multi-family housing architecture designs.