Post Pre-jury Revision

After the pre jury, I re-analysed my references and considered the problematic parts of my design. Briefly,  I said that I refered to Atrium House by Erkut Şahinbaş and adapted the spatial organization to my design, how the courtyard was being a central open space, the heart of the house, and every time if one chances his location, he will have to pass through the courtyard. However, this wasn’t quite sufficient, therefore I also analysed Chinese courtyards and their evolution in time.

Ying Liu and Adenrele Awotona says that:

The courtyard house, a residential compound with buildings surrounding a courtyard on four (or sometimes three) sides, has been representative of housing patterns for over one thousand years in China. It has been a historical heritage deeply rooted to the specific Chinese traditions and culture. From the collapse of the last imperial dynasty (1911) to the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (1949), China underwent a series of wars which entailed destructive impacts on the development of the courtyard houses. Due to some inappropriate policies after 1949, most traditional houses faced changes and deterioration. In addition, there has been a tendency since the 1980s to excessively replace the traditional courtyard houses by multi-storey buildings. All of  this has seriously affected the cultural continuity of the traditional Chinese housing form.

From the 1990s, some housing projects have been initiated in Beijing and are called redevelopment and renewal of dilapidated traditional residential areas. Some new types of courtyard houses have been explored in an attempt to balance the house shortage and the social inheritance due to the rapid growth of population. The construction principles of traditional courtyard houses are being utilised to set the new courtyard house system.

So in my design referring to the traditional  courtyard system, I had 3 courtyards and had a spatial order similar to the hierarchical order in Chinese courtyard houses. Courtyards houses are organised according to the hierarchical order of a family again refering to their hierarchical order in society.

The spatial organisation of a house compound and the arrangement of the important buildings were designed in the following way. The most honoured buildings were located in the core quarter with the highest roof and biggest size in the whole compound and were placed to the north of a central axis. The core quarter was provided for the older generation. Following the order, the building for the “executive” householder was in the inner quarter before the core quarter. The outer quarter was built for servants and guests and was open to all family members. Under the influence of Confucian rules, the arrangement of the traditional Chinese courtyard houses strongly reflected the hierarchical order prevalent in Chinese society and strictly governed human relationships in feudal society. Conversely, the form of the courtyard house influenced and reinforced the rigidly patriarchal life-style and the thoughts of all the family members, and also encouraged emphasis and enforcement of the Confucian idea regarding the importance of the orderly family as the basis for a harmonious and peaceful world.


Siheyuan style

So, once you enter the house, there is an open space which acts like a transition space and directs you to other two open spaces, one on the east and the other on the west. These will orient one to  the outer courtyard or the west and east side rooms. The outer courtyard is used by sons and the daughters, especially the kids. The other courtyard which is more central one when we compare with the outer courtyard is the inner courtyard which is opening to the use of the adults specifically. Actually this doesn’t mean that kids are not allowed in, but it is used more by the adults, and the last courtyard is the back courtyard and here the courtyard is for the use of the oldest person. Again, this doesn’t mean that only the grandfathers will be experience the space, however if one enters to this open space then he will have to be very careful and his attitude should be proper because of the Chines tradition. Briefly, every time we get more in to the house, because the users change, the courtyards privacy level change in a similar paralality. Everytime we move to the next courtyard, the space shared will become more private, I mean while the outer courtyard was shared by many, the inner courtyard will be used more by an individual.

Let me briefly explain how I adopted the situation to my design. So because there is a transition space which connects the off-limits of the house to the inside the house, I also have an open space which is in the borders of the house, but doesn’t directly share a spatial relations with the inner spaces. The interior is not visible from the entrance, but still there is the sense of being inside the house and being safe. So, being in that transition space and waiting outside of the borders, there is still a difference, even you don’t directly interact with the inner spaces.

That transition space directs the inhabitants to the main courtyard which acts like outer courtyard. In my design, the main courtyard is shared by many people. It isn’t for the use of an individual, and at the very end of the house, there are courtyards which is used by individuals. For this condition, Town House will also be supportive. 

Saltman House

Saltzman House by Richard Meier


From my point of view, the spaces were created by subtraction, however two different ways of subtraction. One is mass was taken out, so interior was visible from outside and to provide that visual consistency, a transparent material, glass was used. Because glass doesn’t have a quality of high durability, transportation of the force was done with the columns. One other way of subtraction is done with the left over mass, you can think it as a second round of subtraction. Therefore, this  way the inner spaces with high encloser was created, and because there were partition walls,  the transportation of weight wasn’t a big problem to consider. The sketches above explains what I mean.

One other reference I took was from Town House. In Town House there is again spatial organization done to differentiate spaces. One way was detaching the space from the main spaces.

Town HouseSection_2

Town House by Elding Oscarson

Because my design wasn’t finished I couldn’t work on their spatial interaction very much and the model is not very good for explaining the order of the courtyards, however this is so far what I have done. I will start to work on the site and try to adopt my design to several sites. In my next post I will also add the sections and plans of post pre jury model. I also need to clarify that I have doubts about naming my open spaces as courtyards. I’ll think about it during the process. 


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