Challenges of semidetached living from an Architectural Designer

Hamilton is a city that has long enjoyed the luxury of stand-alone homes. Our abundant availability of land has been an asset, but that abundance is dwindling. As our section sizes become smaller and the demand becomes higher, the time we must do what we have always done is limited.

There is a great fear of density amongst many people I talk to. In fact, I had it myself. A country girl at heart, that last thing I wanted was neighbors to hear my conversations and movements and people to be able to see into my spaces. But the reality is that is what happens when you move into the city for most.


Living in a semi-detached home for the last 8 years has taught me a lot about my preconceptions and about what needs to change.  

I have come to realize that 2 things are important to our sense of privacy and safety in our homes.

One is acoustic privacy. Our conversations in our private spaces are private, so being aware of where we have them in our own homes may seem bizarre. Ensuring that sound not only is stopped at the shared structure lines but also considered in offsetting our spaces goes a long way in giving us the freedom to speak our minds in our homes.

The second thing that I realized is important is outdoor privacy. We all enjoy our outdoor space, so having a space to enjoy that without feeling overlooked or invaded by those outside our household is important.

We can and will have to do this denser living more and more, but careful consideration in the architectural design stage as to how those spaces will feel like to live in for its occupants will go a long way to ensuring denser living is done well.

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Prefab NZ Member    Licenced Building Practitioner    New Zealand Green Building Council
Duotone Design