Gaines Group Architects

American Front Porch – friendly, family focused, and welcoming

American Front Porch – friendly, family focused, and welcoming

“Life is better on the porch”

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The American Front Porch is integral to the formation of neighborhoods throughout our history. The word “porch” comes from the Latin porticus or the Greek word portico. The space, originally a columned entry into a cathedral’s vestibule, became a place for worshipers to gather to socialize before and after the service. In Victorian times, the word porch was used interchangeably with veranda, loggia, piazza, and portico. It was not until the nineteenth century that the porch became  the roofed area with incomplete walls used as a living area that we know today.

 

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“Porches are as synonymous with American culture as apple pie. While not known in colonial times, they rose to nationwide popularity in the decades before the Civil War, and remained in fashion for almost one hundred years.”

— from Kahn, Preserving Porches

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The first porches in the United States were built by immigrants from Africa. It is said that they were derived from the shotgun houses found in West Africa. 

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The front porch, which first appeared in the south, is a transition space. It is a place to engage neighbors before they are invited into your home. It is a place to gather to see neighbors on the street. The front porch is one reason why the south is known for being friendly, family focused, and welcoming.

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