Courtyards have long played an important function in residential design, regulating light, shade, and the use of space. With thousands of years of tradition as inspiration, contemporary architects are now realizing courtyard living afresh. As detailed in a book titled ‘Courtyard living: Contemporary houses of the Asia-Pacific’ by the esteem Charmain Chan, here are five immaculate state-of-the-art concepts.
Taken from a chapter dubbed ‘The young, the old, and the in-between’, the Singapore Cornwall Gardens by Chang Yong Ter of Chang Architects, is home to four generations – utilizing an abundance of greenery and water to create a miniature tropical paradise.
Interconnected by a central rock-and-palm-fringed pool and a double-storey planter bridge, with all six bedrooms and communal areas facing the amenity, this house was expanded to form a U configuration from its original L-shape – in an effort to connect the young and old both symbolically and physically.
Utilizing ramps to choreograph a route around the central courtyard, every floor of the AW House by Andra Matin in Jakarta, Indonesia, feels like the first. With the illusion of a paddy field maintained by lemongrass in big planters, the AW House boasts unparalleled privacy, luxury and artistic value – allowing inhabitants the leisure to leave doors open, whilst art adorns every corner of the estate, and an infinity pool bordered by lush greenery beckons you to take a dip.
Once a converted warehouse, stripped of all courtyard value, this the early-20th-century Singaporean shophouse situated along 17 Blair Road was revamped by architecture, master planning, landscaping, interior, lighting and branding professionals, Ong & Ong. Taking advantage of the property’s single, continuous space stretching the entire length of the property, from street to alleyway, the estate owners have opted for a generous patch of green between their front and rear blocks, providing a safe playground for their children, through a process known as, ‘Architectural archaeology’.
Blurring the lines between perceived outdoor and indoor spaces, Indian architect of the Gomati House, Sanjeev Panjabi, is credited for literally re-directioning the house to face forward. Woven seamlessly into the natural landscape which consisted of a jungle of trees, Sanjeev utilized greenery in two courtyards to connect the two levels, whilst retaining the house’s original partially-sunken mound.
Dubbed the 2 + 2 House by Matt Elkan Architect, in Australia, this residence plays on multiple contrasting ideas, including, ‘prospect and refuge; public and private; rough and refined’. Featuring a pavilion separated by wet and dry courtyards, the outdoor areas are distinguished by fern-filled water-installations, and dry turfed land.