For other meanings of the word House see House (disambiguation).
A house in its most general sense is a human-built structure with enclosing walls and a roof. It provides shelter against precipitation, wind, heat, cold and intruding humans and animals. When occupied as a routine dwelling for humans, a house is called a home. People may be away from home most of the day for work and recreation, but typically are home at least for sleeping.
An alternative form of housing is an apartment (or flat), which is one of several individual units on different levels separated by floors, walls and doors but combined to form a larger building under a shared roof. A house containing only two apartments is called a duplex. In England a flat on two floors is often called a maisonette.
Houses have been used as living quarters for humans since prehistoric times, when they first became used as an alternative to cave dwellings, and construction materials, styles and methods of construction have varied wildly over time.
Early European houses were mere single-roomed shacks without windows in which entire families and their cattle lived, keeping the house and each other relatively warm during winter.
Among the first examples (according to the estimated age of archaeological retrievals), notable are the palafittes.
Forms of shelter simpler than a house include dugoutss, tents (see also camp), campers, huts, roofs without walls, or a structure with roof and partial walls, such as often at a bus stop (see picture there), and a gazebo.
A mansion is a very large house, often very ornate and expensive.
Humans often build houses for domestic or wild animals, often resembling smaller versions of human domiciles. Familiar animal houses built by humans include bird houses and dog houses (kennels), while domiciles for agricultural animals are more often called barnss.
As a verb, to house (pronounced "howz") is to provide a routine locale for an object, a person or an organization. Historic or artistic artifacts, for example, are said to be housed in museums. A business may be housed in a storefront, or a family may be housed in an apartment or a house. A collection of domiciles, either for persons, for organizations, for animals or for objects, is often called housing. An individual person or a single object might also find housing in an appropriate domicile.
Communities often establish standards, either by formal process or by custom, for adequate housing. Concepts related to housing include:
- housing shortages, which is a disproportionate number of people needing houses compared to the availability of structures.
- substandard housing, which is the existence of housing structures that lack sufficient space, environmental protection, security or maintenance to conform to community standards.
- homelessness, which refers to the condition of humans who lack a regular abode.
- billet, which refers to the usually military act of ordering civilians to share private homes or to surrender private homes to soldiers. Billet is sometimes used as a metaphor to describe any temporary housing situation.
- council house or council flat, a house or flat which is provided by the state for the use of the poor.
- mortgage, a loan secured on a house.
See also( in alphabetic order)
- List of house types
- List of house styles
- List of real estate topics
- Building Materials
- Domotics and home automation.
- Earth sheltered home
- Housing estate
- Mobile home
- Parker Morris Committee