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A courtyard is an enclosed area within a building or structure but open to the sky. Courtyards have been inherent in the architectural design of homes since the inception of civilization.
Especially common in tropical homes, courtyards have been serving the purpose of a micro-climate modifier. Their use as an aid in cooling homes during hot weather is widely known. In ancient times, they were also used as a space for eating, sleeping, cooking, working and even playing.
Over the centuries, courtyards have defined the perfect spatial organization. Today, courtyards have swung back into action as a space that not only blends geometry with nature, but also as a place that is conducive for spending more time outdoors.
The use of courtyards in architectural design is reflected in several resorts, buildings and developments in the UAE. As a matter of fact, villas and townhouses in the newest localities all over the country have borrowed this ancient concept, and an increasing number of homeowners are adding it to their luxurious abodes. Historical buildings, like The Majlis Gallery in the Al Fahidi neighborhood of Bur Dubai, are well-known examples of structures with courtyards.
And why not? Courtyards provide a private outdoor space for relaxation away from the public eye. This space is secure and usable at all times of the day. The role of courtyards in ventilating the house and supplying it with natural light can never be overemphasized. They provide peace and serenity even in the busiest of communities.
Courtyards work with any style of home, from modern to classic, but the common designs are Continental, Oriental and European.
The Continental style features various types of tiles ranging from terracotta, Majorca and Moroccan which can be combined with flowering plants to give the space a garden look. Box hedges and tiled pathways leading to a central statue are typical components of European courtyards. The Oriental style may include a water feature with a bonsai or bamboo.
• Courtyards are open yet quiet sanctuaries that provide a sense of relaxation
• They have been used since ancient times to cool homes during hot weather
• Modern courtyards usually come in Continental, Oriental, European designs
Get more tips for spruced up and inviting outdoors
Source: Bandana Jain, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer