The Umerani's modern suburban ranch house (by Apple architects Bohlin, Cywinski, Jackson) wraps around a central fountain courtyard (photo courtesy Umerani Associates).
A well executed courtyard makes a house memorable as well as more
livable. The strong indoor-outdoor connection is a powerful lure but
also the geometry of the space, its openings and wall surfaces, and
paving materials play important roles.
One of the most alluring courtyard houses that I can think of is the home designed for silent film director Fred Niblo in Beverly Hills of 1927 by Wallace Neff (photo courtesy Propertypal
). The dramatic curve of that entry court clearly celebrates automobiles and a theatrical sense of arrival by literally sweeping them around to the front door (image courtesy Stefanos Polyzoides of Moule Polyzoides Architects).
The rest of the house falls into place around it like a perfectly drilled chorus line. The design is a silent movie in its own right — see how the oval hall between living and dining rooms echoes the motorcourt, a Mini Me echo of the main event.
A courtyard design like Mid-century Modern Eichler Plan 470-6
is especially practical as a way
to gain private outdoor living space on a tight lot.Architect Gregory La Vardera has reinterpreted the Eichler atrium design for today, as shown in Plan 431-11.
a talented structural engineer very graciously gave me a tour of
his wonderful new courtyard home, which was designed by Apple Stores
architects Bohlin Cywinksi Jackson. Of course
Jawed, whose firm Umerani Associates
is a frequent consultant for the Bohlin firm, did the engineering and
contributed much to the design.
Soaring window walls and framing overhangs dramatize the court, turning it into a true outdoor living room at the center of the house. From the street, it’s impossible to tell what lies ahead —
you see only the garage and a ribbon of walkway to a sheltered entry. That
remarkable stone-paved residential piazza is the grand surprise just beyond the front door, on the other side of a small
sitting area. The elegant U-shaped house puts the bedrooms on one side
and the great room on the other. Light floods into the house from all sides and the courtyard glows at the center.
To browse more Courtyard and Patio Plans click here.