A front porch provides the perfect transition along the intimacy gradient between a home's public and private spaces. It represents an architectural means of preserving that sense of community which is threatened by the typical automobile-centric designs of our modern towns.
The relationship of a house to a street is often confused: either the house opens entirely to the street and there is no privacy; or the house turns its back on the street, and communion with street life is lost.
We have within our natures tendencies toward both communality and individuality. A good house supports *both* kinds of experience: the intimacy of a private haven *and* our participation with the public world.
But most homes fail to support these complementary needs. Most often they emphasize one, to the exclusion of the other: we have, for instance, the fishbowl scheme, where living areas face the street with picture windows and the "retreat", where living areas turn away from the street into private gardens.
The old front porch, in traditional American society, solved this problem perfectly. Where the street is quiet enough, and the house near enough to the street, we cannot imagine a much better solution.
- excerpt from Christopher Alexander's ground-breaking book, A Pattern Language.
Could not have said it any better.
Fitting into the neighborhood... well, except for the pink.