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Architecture August, 4 2014

Courtyard House by NO ARCHITECTURE

The Courtyard House by NO ARCHITECTURE re-conceives low-density metropolitan living by concentrating the traditional single-family residence into a courtyard house. By utilizing a marginal site and downsizing the conventional house, the Courtyard House sponsors more collective and ecological forms without sacrificing the necessary privacy of daily living. A glass wrapper is set back from the roof’s edge to create a walk-around covered terrace that activates the surrounding landscape by physically and communally connecting inside to out. Entered through an underground garage court, the house’s six spaces flow in a continuous loop around a series of separate bathroom and storage cores that flock and disperse to allow the rooms to be experienced as a single loft or as a series of individual rooms. Maximizing usable space, each storage core contains all of the requirements of daily living – WC, shower, closets, etc. – allowing each room to be experienced collectively when open or privately when closed. Because no room is compartmentalized and isolated as in a conventional home, every room can be a living space during the day and a sleeping space at night.

Framing the central living spaces is a single courtyard. Planted to continue the surrounding indigenous landscape, the courtyard is conceived as a spatial divider, like a family camp, to consolidate and share the conviviality and burdens of daily living without feeling overcrowded at night. The courtyard is excavated in plan to optimize views and passive solar gain, allowing light and air inside, while sinking the house into the hillside to maximize thermal insulation and intimacy from the urban context.

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