Timeless Architecture – Classic U-Shape
The environments we surround ourselves with have an effect on our life style and how we think and feel. In contemplating a floor plan for our next home, one of my top picks is a U-shaped home and variations with a courtyard. In the area of single-family architecture it is not common and the cost to build can be 10% more than a traditional rectangular floor plan.
A U-shaped floor plan also requires more land than the average single-family residence, but there are floor plans that are fairly compact which offer a strong level of control in terms of privacy.
Photography Everette & Soule
Interior Courtyard Floor Plan – Spaces defined by walls on 4 sides work very well in urban settings where there is no front and backyard and the courtyard can be used as a green space.
A home with a classic U-shaped floor plan can optimize on natural light and cross ventilation. The walls facing the courtyard can be mostly glass, while the exterior walls can be built right up to the setback lines on either side, and mostly opaque.
First and foremost though, interior courtyards bring sunlight to parts of a house that might not otherwise have it. Combined with thoughtful landscaping, these spaces can seem like a sanctuary, a private garden and sky that reinforces our connection with the outside world.
Moroccan Riad Courtyards are filled with an array of colors, textures, and the courtyard is considered the heart of the home.
Not all interior courtyards need to be accessible or of a size that does much more than bring sunlight for part of the day to the middle of the home. While courtyards bring a little bit of nature inside houses, they also help reduce energy bills by making daylight that much more abundant. That’s certainly something to think about when considering a project, be it a new building or a renovation.
From a historical perspective, the architectural focus on the central courtyard and U-shaped floor plan was possibly inspired by Mediterranean cultures including Etruscans, Greeks and Romans.
The courtyard frequently contained an altar to the goddess Hestia who was the goddess of hearth and home. There might also be a well for water located there. The women of the house would do their weaving and spinning in the courtyard at certain times of the year.
Roman Domus Home
Asian architecture should also be acknowledged, for traditional courtyard houses along with contemporary Japanese dwellings that insert courtyards into urban sites.
Atrium Floor Plan
In closing I am wondering how contemporary architecture ended up being so ugly and what can be done to fix it.
Here are some Neoclassical beauties.