A continental approach to housing uses colourful facades to show just who owns what

From Herman Muthesius's 1904 'Das Englische Haus' to his son's Stefan Muthesius's "The English Terraced House", people throughout Europe have admired how we built our houses here, especially our terraced ones.

Now Germany is showing us a trick with its unique approach to row houses, here seen at Vauban in Freiburg, a development usually featured for its groundbreaking approach to photovoltaic microgeneration. But behind the hullaballo about the sustainability there is something more fundamental going on. Take a look at how the facade is picked out in four contrasting colours. Each colour change denotes the party wall between individual dwellings, which are meted out as half-metre portions so that residents can get a 4.5, 5 or 5.5m frontage depending on how much money they've got. It's a common figure of speech to describe the terrace as a sausage. Now the Germans have taken to marketing it like one.