Paper presented at the XXXIII IAHS World Congress on Housing, 27-30 September 2005,"Transforming Housing Environments through Design", University of Pretoria.
This paper would look into typology of external decks in collective housing, its advantages and shortcomings, its relationship to current building regulations in Croatia and into the appearance of this typology in the recent housing realizations in Croatia. According to some authors the external deck in collective housing as a way of connecting individual dwelling units, first appeared in USA, though already in the Middle Ages many European collective housing was based on the same model. This type of collective housing building is a result of a more economic way of bringing together dwelling units into a single entity by reducing the number of staircases. The length of this external deck is mainly defined by fire regulations stipulating the maximum distance between the dwelling entrance and the staircase (this usually being 30 meters). This dwelling type includes many sub-types : two-storey(maisonnettes) and three-storey dwellings, type with raised or lowered decks, detached decks etc. External deck typology could show its advantages as shortcomings and vice versa. Most commonly mentioned economic advantage of this type- reduced number of vertical communication per dwelling (a large number of dwellings per one horizontal circulation area) could turn into a shortcoming if the solution results in the lack of privacy of rooms orientated onto this communal connection of dwelling units.The advantage of this type resulting in some solutions in the individualization of dwellings (effect of a “house with garden”) is often followed by the increased construction costs due to greater number of outer walls than this is the case in other types of collective housing. The POS ( State Subsidized Housing) regulations in Croatia “do not recommend to designers the use of deck system because of larger circulation areas and defficient economic parameter. In the case of the deck solution only a closed and ventilated deck with two-storey and three-storey dwellings is recommended” The paradox of the existing situation in Croatia lies in the fact that the great number of realized (and prized) collective housing is of the external deck typology. The main reason probably lies in the possibilities of this type to offer “radically more meaningful approach” introducing into collective housing a semblance of individual dwelling followed by well known advantages of the external deck typology.
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