From loyal reader Natalie Weinberger of the Housing Finance Information Network and Shophouse thesis fame: "A design company based in the UK has developed a townhouse prototype for London; they call their model the 'Rational House'. You'll see from checking out their site that the rationale (pun intended) speaks quite directly to the mission of your blog. If you want more info, Monocle magazine did a story [requires subscription] on them a few issues back." Thanks Natalie, this is one for the Hall of Fame. From the Rational House website: "Most major world cities have examples of older, classic houses that have been retained over many generations and possess special qualities that make them sought-after and valuable. The Georgian houses of London, the beaux arts homes of Paris, the art nouveau creations of Brussels, the Brownstone houses of New York, the red brick row houses of Philadelphia, and the veranda terraces of Sydney are all good examples - but there are many more worldwide. Rational House was formed because the modern equivalent does not seem to exist. We believe that our prototype building - and the research behind it - is the first step towards the creation of a modern classic.
"We created a blueprint for contemporary living: a modern house that distills the most successful characteristics of family homes of the past. The Rational House can easily be adapted to accommodate a family's changing needs and circumstances. It can be converted into flats, or can be used in part or whole for other purposes, including offices and shops. Houses using the system can be clustered, giving high densities similar to four or five storey blocks of flats. This can be done because Rational House is a repeatable and extendable product. We are constructing a new town house in Hammersmith, London - a prototype for an urban dwelling built to the Rational House brief. "