Titled "Yuan-er, a Courtyard-ology: From the Mega to the Micro", the Chinese pavilion at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia answers the question of how architecture can contribute to equality, connectivity and unity by resorting to familiar Chinese residential typologies. Curated by Zhang Li, the pavilion will be on display from May 22nd to November 21st, 2021.
Courtyard: The Latest Architecture and News
The distribution of natural light, improved ventilation, and the propensity to connect living spaces with the outdoors while maintaining the privacy of the inhabitants have made courtyards a go-to in architectural design around the world over the centuries.
Courtyards are characterized as outdoor or semi-outdoor spaces that are enclosed within the walls of a house or building.
Walking down the streets of cities like Hanoi and Saigon in Vietnam, you might encounter houses with surprisingly narrow facades in contrast to the stacking of three to five floors, with windows for ventilation and natural light only on the front facade. These are the famous traditional Tube Houses. According to ancient popular culture, this type of housing emerged due to property taxes being based on the width of the facade, but the true reason is to optimize land use, allowing a larger number of plots in the same square.
However, this legacy is now being recreated in contemporary designs by Vietnamese architects. Old facades give way to innovative solutions featuring atriums for natural lighting and ventilation, courtyards and interior gardens, greenery incorporated into different environments, split-levels, etc., allowing for high-quality spaces. With that in mind, we have put together a selection of Tube Houses, together with their respective section drawings. Check out below:
With the exception of some areas, within the three principal regions of Peru--coastal, mountain, and rainforest--the climate is characterized as tropical or subtropical and the differences in summer and winter temperatures is minimal, rarely reaching beyond 15 °C and 27 °C. This mild climate has thinned the line between exterior and interior spaces, a fact evident in the region's architecture.
Inner courtyards and gardens can provide many benefits, such as natural light, better ventilation, and increased contact with nature without losing privacy.
Patios and gardens play a crucial role in a project's planning and layout. In some instances, they serve as organizing elements while in others, they improve the quality of life in a space by providing light, ventilation, and a connection to the outdoors while maintaining the privacy of the inhabitants.
Chinese courtyard houses are one of the most common housing typologies spanning all the way from the northern capital of Beijing to the poetic southern cities Hangzhou and back to the picturesque regions of Yunnan. Typically referred as heyuan, these courtyards homes are simply a “yard enclosed on four sides."
With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping through the world's urban centers, governments worldwide are urging citizens to hunker down at home in a bid to quell the virus' spread. For apartment dwellers under quarantine, balconies have become the new platforms for entertainment and social interaction, making now an opportune moment in rethinking how we design and build these outdoor urban spaces.
The Patio Vivo Foundation seeks to promote active free play, positive and healthy relationships, wellbeing and contact with nature by articulating space, community and the culture of kindergarten and school playgrounds. In the following article, they describe their working methodology in their own words.