apartment house

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Financial.

apartment house,

building having three or more dwelling units. Numerous early examples of this form of dwelling have been found in remains of Roman and medieval cities and in the 17th-cent. Pueblo villages of North America. Its most important development came with the Industrial Revolution. After 1850 crowded slums began to develop in the cities of Europe and the United States. Few good, low-cost multiple dwellings were built before World War I, but great progress was made in the development of more luxurious apartment buildings, particularly in Paris and Vienna. In the 1880s fireproof steel-frame construction, the improvement of the elevator, and the introduction of electric lighting made possible the rapid evolution of the apartment building. In 1901 New York City put into effect a tenement-house law; its purpose was to protect occupants against fire hazards and unsanitary and unsafe conditions.

Between 1919 and 1934 there appeared in Europe many commendable low-cost housing developments. Important examples are projects by GropiusGropius, Walter
, 1883–1969, German-American architect, one of the leaders of modern functional architecture. In Germany his Fagus factory buildings (1910–11) at Alfeld, with their glass walls, metal spandrels, and discerning use of purely industrial features, were
..... Click the link for more information.
 at the Siemensstadt in Berlin, J. J. P. OudOud, Jacobus Johannes Pieter
, 1890–1963, Dutch architect. Oud's interest in abstract painting led him to conceive of buildings composed in terms of pure planes. With several painters, including Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg, he became associated with the influential
..... Click the link for more information.
's group at Hoek van Holland, and H. P. BerlageBerlage, Hendrik Petrus
, 1856–1934, Dutch architect. In both his writings and architectural practice, Berlage advocated a return to simplicity of form and clarity of structure. In his Amsterdam Stock Exchange (1898–1903) and the Diamond Workers' Union Bldg.
..... Click the link for more information.
's apartments in Amsterdam. There has been government-subsidized public housing in the United States since 1937. A phenomenal increase in the building of apartments has taken place since 1921 in all the larger cities, reaching a peak in New York City, where apartments largely replaced private houses. In the mid-20th cent. a radical experiment in multiple dwellings called Habitat was designed for the Montreal Expo 67 by Moshe SafdieSafdie, Moshe
, 1938–, Israeli-Canadian architect, b. Haifa. He grew up in Israel, moved to Canada with his family at 15, studied architecture at McGill Univ. and with Louis Kahn, and later opened an office in Montreal.
..... Click the link for more information.

In addition to the traditional rental unit, contemporary apartments are available in a number of permutations. With cooperative apartments the tenants belong to a corporation that owns the building. In the condominium each apartment unit is owned separately and owner-tenants generally form an association to provide for apartment maintenance. The apartment hotel combines the accommodations of an apartment, including cooking space, with the services characteristic of a hotel. A greater sense of community is fostered in co-housing, where residents plan, develop, and manage a community, often comprised of apartments and town houses, that combines private quarters with common spaces. Apartment houses have spread to the suburbs of the larger cities, where they frequently include gardens, tennis courts, and children's playgrounds. Numerous apartment houses are constructed as living complexes for retired persons.


See S. Paul, Apartments: Their Design and Development (1967); E. Thompson, Apartments, Townhouses, and Condominiums (1975); D. Mackay, Multiple Family Housing (1977); and E. Cromley Alone Together: A History of New York's Early Apartments (1990).

Apartment house

A building containing a number of individual residential dwelling units.

Apartment House


a type of architectural structure; a multiple-unit building in which apartments are rented.

The apartment house originated in Europe in the 1830’s and 1840’s. At the turn of the 20th century the apartment house usually occupied the perimeter of the landlord’s lot; only a small inner court remained open. The main characteristic of the building is its honeycomb-like spatial structure; apartments of uniform layout are grouped around the stairwells or corridors and, in gallery houses, along galleries. In the 19th and early 20th century only the street side of the apartment house had an architectural facade, which usually had a decorative character and had no architectural connection to the structure of the building itself. In the 20th century the apartment house became one of the main types of housing for city dwellers in many of the developed capitalist countries.


1. A room or suite of rooms designed to be lived in, containing at least one bathroom; is separated from, and is usually one of, many similar units within a multiple dwelling.
2. A building containing at least three such dwelling units; an apartment house. Also see efficiency apartment, garden apartment, apartment hotel.
References in periodicals archive ?
CUTLINE: A fire Thursday in Fitchburg at a Franklin Street apartment house left the building damaged, but salvageable.
In chapter Four ("Enclosing Paris, 1852-1880") Marcus discusses this shift in the cultural understanding of the apartment house and the notions of public and private spaces in urban literature, public hygiene reports, domestic manuals and architectural treatises.
But, as she shows in a closing tour-de-force analysis of Zola's odd apartment house novel Pot-Bouille, no amount of moralistic preaching or interior design could make the Parisian family behave like Londoners, or a Parisian novelist write like one.
In a seminal paper on "The apartment house in urban America," John Hancock identified booms in apartment-house building between 1890 and 1917 and during the 1920s.
Etters ran several companies, including Apartment House Developers LLC, Harris Hardware Inc.
So why don't more apartment house owners rent to people with pets?
CHIP), an organization representing apartment house owners and had served as an officer and director until 1986.
Apartment House Builders financed $225,000 of the transaction.
It can also include the front yard, driveway or walkway of any private residence, business or apartment house.