The number of pillars depended on how well-off the host was. At first, the arcade, and the entire loft, were used for storage, but with time they acquired a residential function. Although in Żuławy arcades were probably used in houses as early as in the Middle Ages, the oldest preserved building comes from early 17th Century. As they were known already in the medieval times, it would be a mistake to think that they were invented by the Dutch settlers – the Mennonites.
The improving material status of Żuławy’s peasants is also noticeable in the architecture of arcade houses. Originally, a house would have a gable arcade facing the road, then a wing would be built from one side, and finally the building would boast a centrally-located arcade, with both sides of the house symmetrical.
There were also buildings in Żuławy which did not feature an arcade, and so-called Dutch farmsteads, i.e. houses in which the residential part was connected to farm buildings, and yet it was the arcade houses that became the characteristic feature of Żuławy villages, creating the unique atmosphere of this region.