Since everything has a history that how it came into existence so does the apartments. They didn’t emerge immediately; they took the time to develop. Over the years, they took the shape that we know them in now. Different countries have a different story about how the idea of building apartments evolved.
Anciently in Rome, there were large apartment buildings that were built for the lower and middle classes of Romans known as insular (singular insula). The ground floor was used for shops and businesses while higher floors were to be used as living spaces. These were usually ten stories and more with more than 200 stairs. Later on the lower floors were occupied by wealthy families and the rest was resident to the lower classes.
During the medieval period, the Egyptians built many high-rise residential buildings that were as tall as seven stories. These could accommodate more than hundreds of people. They were also described as minarets. During the 10th century, it became a fashion to live in these multi-story apartment buildings that could house over 200 people. Later on these apartment buildings rose to fourteen stories with the facilities of garden roofs and proper irrigating systems. In the 16th century, these apartments got more popular that had lower floors to be used for commercial and storage purposes while the rest of the building was rented for tenants.
The Chinese have two forms of apartments: Weilongwu and Tulou. These communal systems were built by Hakka people to provide easy and secure places to live. Tulou was larger buildings that were soil based and were usually 3-5 stories high and could accommodate 80 families at the time.
In England, the concept of living in a flat was an insulting idea. It was considered offensive for the higher gentry to live in an apartment. All the people preferred living in a house even if it was a small one. But during the last quarter of 19th century, the idea of living in apartments got more common. This idea got attention due to the increase in population that gave birth to the need of accommodating the middle and upper classes. The traditional way of living in England was becoming extensively expensive plus the maintenance costs became unbearable. Albert Mansions were the first apartment mansions in England in 1867 but after a census held in 2011, 52% of the population had started living in flats.
In the 19th century, apartment living became the most prime type of housing accommodations. These buildings were 3-5 stories high each having 2-4 flats and were built of sandstone or granite. Glasgow had the highest concentration of apartment living at the time. Since these flats were built in old times, in 1970 a team suggested even that these buildings were sound they needed new plumbing, renewed kitchens, and bathrooms. These were turned into desirable accommodations in 1980’s and became the fine example of universally admired architecture.
These were a few examples of how apartment living originated in different countries in different time periods.