porch is a structure attached to a building, forming a
covered entrance to a vestibule or doorway. It is external to the
walls of the main building proper, but may be enclosed by screen,
latticework, broad windows, or other light frame walls extending
from the main structure.
There are various styles of
porches, all of which depend on the architectural tradition of its
location. All porches will allow for sufficient space for a person
to comfortably pause before entering or after exiting the
However, they may be larger.
Verandahs, for example, are usually quite large and may encompass
the entire facade as well as the sides of a structure. At the
other extreme, the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan has
the longest porch in the world at some 660 feet in length.
North America and Britain
In Britain and New England the
porch is typically a small vestibule where wet/muddy clothing can
be removed before entering the main house. This is often called a
mudroom in New England. In the western United States US, ranch
style homes often use a covered porch to provide shade for the
entrance and southern wall of the residence.
In the southern United States and
Southern Ontario, Canada, a porch is often as broad as it is deep,
and may provide sufficient space for residents to entertain guests
or gather on special occasions.
However, many American homes
built since the 1940s with a porch only have a token one, too
small for comfortable social use and adding only to the visual
impression of the building. The New Urbanism movement in
architecture urges a reversal in this trend, recommending a large
porch facing the street, to help build community ties.
When covered, a porch not only
provides protection from sun or rain but may also form, in effect,
an extra exterior room that may accommodate chairs, tables and
other furniture, to be used as living space. Screens are often
used in some areas to exclude flying insects.
Porches typically are
architecturally unified with the rest of the house, using similar
design elements as the rest of the structure, and may be
integrated into the roofline or upper stories.