Courtyard houses

Homes that are built around a central courtyard are not new – in fact they seem quite the hallmark of a civilised society (just ask the Romans, ancient Egyptians, Sumerians and any number of other bygone peoples who were really good at building things). To me, they are a literal representation of what ‘home’ symbolises: safety, security and privacy. This type of building remains appealing for architects, and is now finding an advantage on urban infill sites where there are stringent rules for how much a new home can overlook its existing neighbours. The downsides are that the external face that such a home shows to the world can be a little mean and fortress-like; and the actual courtyard can fill up with leaves and crisp packets and water and other detritus, with nowhere for it to go. But I think being able to wave at your loved-ones across the way would more than make up for it (although come to think of it this could also be another disadvantage if you were trying to hide from them). Here are some recent examples of the genre.

Light House, London, by Gianni Botsford architects

House in Lambeth Road, London, by The Crawford Partnership

Home in Seoul, Korea, as featured in the New York Times

Bourne Blue Architecture's Kurreki House, Seal Rocks, Australia. Via Contemporist


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