Why are American and European houses built so differently?


Why are American and European houses built so differently?

In: 5

Different disasters in each place has meant different regulations have been built up. Also, very different climates mean different needs too. Plus, here’s way more land in most places in the US, so houses can sprawl in some places – you never really get that in Europe.

As in what part of Europe? Building in different European countries are built differently depending on local building requirements.

Where in America? It varies a lot.

The big factors are:

Space, the USA has more space so houses tend to be larger with more land. This also means they tend to build out rather than up.

Materials cost, wood is far cheaper in the USA, Europe either burnt most of it or used it to build ships a long time ago.

Natural disasters, in an earthquake zone you want a wooden house not a brick one. Wood will flex, brick will crack. Similarly you build differently in areas prone to hurricanes or tornadoes. None of these are significant risks in Europe

If you mean other things like garages too small for modern cars or putting the washing machine in the kitchen or bathroom etc… Those are a mixture of culture and tradition.

Strong traditions, heritage etc influences european house style quite a lot. America kind of mixed it all up and started fresh with zero tradition, for better and for worse.

Europe is a very diverse place in regards of architecture, building standards and weather and space requirements. USA also has a lot of variety between the states.

If you mean why the stereotypical German/Nordic/Dutch/etc house is generally much sturdier and “better built” than the stereotypical detached house in USA, there’s a few points.

One it depends a lot on area and the wealth of the region. Some states in USA do have pretty strict building standards – California, for example. The differences in wealth between cities, states and regions in USA are also very immense. For example, the GDP per capita in Massachusetts is twice that of Arkansas. True, there are large differences inside European countries too, but typically you have the same social security systems, same regulations, etc, inside a country anyway. So even if a poor German state (yes, Germany is a federation too!) has several times smaller GDP per capita than a rich German state, the regulations are still the same and the social benefits are mostly the same.

Two, there’s the general land pricing aspect. Land price in most of Europe is pretty high compared to USA. Materials tend to be more expensive, too. What this means overall is that it’s mostly the higher middle class and up that can afford detached homes near major cities. They also have more money to pay for more expensive houses. Meanwhile, in USA, it’s common for lower income people to still live in suburbs next to major cities. You can’t really do that in Europe very easily. Near cities, homes and land is very expensive. It’s mostly the better-to-do people who live in the suburbs right next to big cities, and they can afford better built houses to begin with.

And three, there are different weather and energy requirements. In the more temperate locations of USA, there just isn’t all that much attention given to proper insulation. Energy is cheap – or was, now it’s changing – and home owners rather save on the initial cost of the house, since hey, heating is – was – cheap. In northern Germany, Denmark, Scotland, wherenot, energy is comparatively more expensive and proper insulation is given more attention.