Many properties of houses are of topological nature. The problem of three-dimensional encoding is solved here by first giving an axiomatic description of a simplified concept of >house< as a certain generalisation of a cw-complex and, secondly, by generalising local observation structures of embedded unconnected planar graphs to the three-dimensional case and proving that they allow retrieving all topological properties of these simplified houses. In the more general case of an architectural complex (a certain generalisation of a >house<) still much topolgical information is kept in these structures still making them a useful approach to encoding topological spaces. Finally, a lossless representation of observation structures in a relational database scheme which we call PLAV (Points, Lines, Areas, Volumes) is given. We expect PLAV to be useful for encoding higher dimensional (architectural) space-time complexes.