If apartments cannot be left regularly, not all of them are equally pleasant to live in. The last eighteen months have shown us this. One thing is clear, the strict separation of functions is a thing of the past. But we also observe a renaissance of halls, decks and bay windows, elements that, even before the pandemic, had begun to appear in the floor plans of new urban residential buildings.
The vestibule and the bay window are two bourgeois elements that somewhat nobilize living in the city – and of course the projection of the façade also has an influence on urban design.The notoriously efficient access deck that can do more than just provide access to numerous small apartments at a low cost is emerging from its shadowy existence. How might the rediscovery of hall, deck, and bay window be explained? Three essays that show a broad historical and very practical approach attempt to shed light on this at different altitudes. The hall is traced from Lübeck to Venice and to Hornbach, the access deck might to do with the revived interest in the 1990s and a sense for communal forms of housing, while in the current practice of housing designers the bay window is used to combat the slickness of the kind of architectural design focused on financial returns.
A comprehensive collection of floor plans, not only of the examples described, allows an individual reading. Here the following questions can be answered: what impact does the typology of the bay window have on urban space? What are the internal effects? Are these housing typologies more robust — to use a favourite architectural term — than other floor plans?
Over the last year we have all spent far more time at home and have directly experienced that quality of life is attained with multifunctional spatial situations, views through, day light and outdoor spaces of real quality. In the future apartments will not have to be bigger but better. Perhaps the examples in this issue and the reflections about the hall, access deck and bay window can provide the necessary inspiration. — Jenny Keller, Roland Züger