Many problems, one solution: a series of decks turn this ordinary, prefab, mass-produced townhouses into a unified sequence that both spells out their street addresses and uniquely identifies each part of a larger whole.

A series of lookalike domestic structures presents a problem for both residents and guests. On the one hand, there is the sense of being solitary but stuck within a set of blandly identical buildings. On the other hand, visitors have to find a particular domicile from a larger group.

Adding this gesture to the facades works as a way-finding device, ties together the disparate units, but also makes them look and feel different, all without adding considerable cost to lower-priced, multi-family residences.

Behind it all: modest plans for affordable living units. This elegantly simple and price-effective solution reflects value added (to cheap stock plans for wood-framed homes) by the Japanese firm of Mitsutomo Matsunami Architect & Associates.