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Why Is It Important To Have Courtyards In Your Houses

Courtyards have been in existence for over centuries. These confined spaces are common in several regions of the globe, especially in the tropics. Understanding the importance of courtyards in houses and other built structures allows us to optimize their spatial dynamics.

Over the years, the evolution of architecture has altered how we perceive courtyards. Despite changes in the construction style and techniques, courtyards still hold a significant role in houses and built structures. From being a source of ventilation in cramped sites to secluded outer spaces, the yards provide a versatile extent of benefits and significance.

This article shall discuss the importance of courtyards in houses and their benefits. To begin, why don’t we start answering a basic query for any average reader, what is a courtyard!

What is a courtyard?

A confined zone within a building complex with an uncovered area open to the sky refers to a courtyard. Mainly these areas are located in the center of a complex with adjacent built spaces around them. The security of walls on all sides creates an attractive outdoor experience for its users. It also encourages breezy private gatherings within the building complex.

Nowadays, people also include courtyards in commercial complexes to take advantage of the spatial dynamics. Museums, Malls, Offices, Universities, etc., use these courtyards as semi-outdoor gathering spaces, whereas houses have more versatile usage like gardening, cooking, or even sleeping.

Importance of courtyards in houses

To understand the importance of courtyards in houses, we must acknowledge the benefits these courtyards provide residents. The versatility of these enclosures in residences is sometimes necessary for functional needs like ventilation and lighting. Some of the benefits of courtyards are as follows,

  • Natural Ventilation
  • Natural Lighting
  • Builds Connectivity with Nature
  • Bridges Indoor-Outdoor Spaces
  • Extra Room
  • Private and Safe Outdoor Area

Natural Ventilation

Optimizing any space by including breathable areas in the design is vital. Ventilation is one such aspect that inherits breathability in designs. Cross ventilation enhances air quality within any built space and amplifies the user’s experiences. Courtyards in houses are principal elements to encourage cross ventilation. These yards allow a stack effect to maintain the airflow.

Courtyards in houses
Courtyard Home in Ahmedabad, India, by Modo Designs. Image source : architecturaldigest.in

The sprinkle of courtyards within the built complex is phenomenal. Apart from the main central courtyards, the building includes an outer courtyard and dining courtyard. The sandwiching of the dining space between two courtyards magnifies the space’s essence and merges the outdoor and indoor boundaries. Enclosures have operable louvers to control the impact of climate on the uncovered areas. 

Natural Lighting

Including natural light fenestrations in a building are an excellent source to invite the warmth and light of the sun within the houses. Courtyards light up the house’s interiors and play with light and shadows. These patterns also add character to spaces. 

A Modern Tree House- Cube Square in Bengaluru, India, by Collage Studio. Image source : thearchitectsdairy.com

The cube square is a perfect escape from the bustling city life of Bengaluru. The building incorporates a courtyard to enhance visual connectivity and lights up all levels of the interiors. The skylight over the yard has a pattern of leaves placed over them. The courtyard’s interior has a paneled wall that becomes a spontaneous canvas for leaf shadows when the sunlight beams inside. 

Builds Connectivity with Nature

A phenomenal experience of the courtyards in houses is their connectivity with nature. These courtyards are a great way to include greeneries inside a built complex with direct sunlight. Experience the tree’s freshness while having dinner or watching your favorite movie. The visual freshness also reciprocates in our overall health and the ambiance of those spaces.

Courtyards in houses
Skewed House in Surat, India, by Studio Lagom. Image source : thearchitectsdairy.com

The architect uses these internal courtyards to merge the spatial transmission between spaces. The dining room and the staircase also share the inner courtyard in the living room. The advantage of these courtyards is the freedom to incorporate light and water inside the house. The freshness of the central tree and seating near it allows the building to connect with nature and create a separate space to enjoy such connectivity. 

Bridges Indoor-Outdoor Spaces

The exterior walls of the building can merge with the exterior through the outer gardens and lawns around the building. But, what about the interiors of the buildings? How will they connect with the outdoors? Well, having internal courtyards can solve such design problems. 

Courtyards in houses
An Ecofriendly Farmhouse in Hyderabad, India, by Moriq. Image source: architecturaldigest.in

The modern vocabulary of the farmhouse anchors its roots back to the traditional architectural concepts of courtyards and materials. The heart of the house has an internal courtyard that bridges the space between the two bedrooms opposite one another. The crown of the tree in the courtyard enhances the spatial experience and creates excellent indoor merging outdoor vibes. 

Extra Room

Who doesn’t like more spaces! Including courtyards in houses creates a separate room within the homes. These spaces are neutral and have no specific function to them. Thus, the extra space can be repurposed into any space, whether gathering or in solitude. 

Courtyards in houses
Griyoase House in Indonesia by Andyrahman Architect. Image source: architropics.com

The architect perceived the house as an oasis, using an internal courtyard. The layout is simple and includes a single moringa tree in it. The simplicity in its design encourages the versatility of using the space. As the internal yard has the living, staircase, and bedroom around it, the potential of using it as a common gathering space is relatively high. Having doors on all three sides allows seclusion and transforms the space into an extra room within the building. 

Private and Safe Outdoor Area

Safety and privacy are the most common issues while designing any outdoor space. The extra concern arises when these spaces are in a cramped neighborhood. Chances of trespassing and lack of privacy prevent owners from enjoying their property’s freedom. However, implementing courtyards can help you with such troubles. It provides safety and seclusion from the outdoor space, connects with the exterior, and intensifies the experiences.

Courtyards in houses
Courtyard Home in Ahmedabad, India, by Modo Designs. Image source: architecturaldigest.in

The sandwiched dining space between the internal yard and the extending outdoor private courtyard enhances the experience of the room with amplified cross ventilation, light, and visual connectivity. The secluded dining courtyard enjoys the privacy of a separate outdoor seating area. The private yard can become a common gathering space to enjoy personal family time. The confinement of these spaces secures spatial safety, thus preventing unexpected spectators.

Conclusion

As humans, we have a great affinity for our dwellings. Building an abode that accentuates the experience of its environment will be a big winner. Including courtyards in houses can help your archive such relativity with nature and its environment. With its ventilation, lighting, safety, and privacy, these courtyards can amplify the space’s spatial dynamics and create an excellent user experience. 

By Hajara Banu

Hajara Banu is a professional architect, content writer, and strategist. She is on her journey to share her love of architecture, design, and content creation. Besides writing, Hajara loves coffee and often experiments with cooking and organizing in her free time.

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