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Courtyard House Project Info

Courtyard House

This addition/alteration builds upon and strives to clarify the relationships between interior and exterior habitable space in a suburban context.  The main formal strategy—the addition of a third building mass that sits parallel to the master bedroom wing and above what was a single story garage—accomplishes three tasks. The addition sets up the building’s relationship with its immediate surroundings by occupying the border between two green ‘rooms;’ it not only adds to, but also redistributes program; and it creates an entry portal which relocates one’s moment of arrival to the entry courtyard.

The project’s building masses, or program ‘solids’, are connected by a series of ribbon windows that denote a transitional ‘void’ space and become the design’s spatial thread.  This thread is not only implemented in plan, but also operates vertically, connecting a three-story living room where play, leisure, and study occupy the same temporal node.  It is here that light, views, sounds, bodily movements and ritualistic activities register time in a manner that constantly changes one’s perception of the space. Furthermore, registration of time via changing seasons, weather, the arrival of visitors, etc. is meant to be visible through the transitional ‘void’ of ribbon windows and lattices. The inhabitant’s connectivity with their environs is always present while occupying these zones.

It is not the program ‘solids’ themselves, but rather the paths between them—the transitional ‘voids’—that activate the site and program. This produces physical and visual connections that, in turn, alter both. This addition encourages a dynamic and productive dialogue that intertwines landscape and building(s) with interior movement and activities.  The design does not rely on overindulgence as a means to an end, but rather, serves as a backdrop to the natural and familial events of the site, ultimately binding each as an integral and continually changing construct.

In collaboration with James Doyle of Doyle Herman Landscape Design Associates.


Photography by © David Sundberg / Esto