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Architectural Association Paper Number 9

Published by Lund Humphries for the

Architectural Association London

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The Modern Courtyard House

A History

by Duncan Macintosh

1953 1957


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The Modern Courtyard House

Architectural Association Paper Number 9

The Modern Courtyard House

Published by Lund Humphries for the

Architectural Association London

A History

by Duncan Macintosh


I would like to thank Reyner Banham for supervising the writing of the first version of this paper while I was at the Bartlett School of Architecture 1967-9, and for suggesting that it should be published; John and Constance Byrom of Edinburgh University Architectural Research Unit, David Gebhard, Philip Johnson, Morse Payne and Walter Segal for their suggestions; the staffs of Avery Library at Columbia University and the library of the Royal Institute of British Architects; Lidia Morales for draughting the figures and Jean van Ryswyck for photographing the illustrations.

Illustration credits

3 Museum of Modern Art, New York.

7 From Esther McCoy, Five Californian Architects,

© 1960 by Litton Educational Publishing Company, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Van Nostrand Reinhold Company.

II Verlag Gerd Hatie.

12, 13,40,47 Architects' Journal. 21,42 L'architecture d'aujourd'hui.

22 From Heinrich Lauterbach and jurgen Ioedicke, Hugo Haring (1965). Reprinted by permission of Kramer Verlag.

25 Arthur Niggli Ltd.

29,32 Werk.

34 Bauen und Wohnen.

40 Royal Institute of British Architects. 43 Architectural Review.

Copyright © 1973 Duncan Macintosh First edition 1973

Published by Lund Humphries Publishers Limited 12 Bedford Square, London WCI

SBN 85331 3342

Designed by Lund Humphries

Made and printed in Great Britain by Lund Humphries, London and Bradford


I Introduction 7
II The patio house in the United States 10
III The atrium house in northern Europe 21
IV Courtyard housing in the Weimar Republic 27
V Courtyard housing in post-war Britain 37
VI Summary of design considerations 46
Tables 47
References and Bibliography 48
Index 52 Notes on the figures

All the site plans are at the scale of I: 1000 and all the floor plans are at the scale of I :250. The courtyards are covered with a one metre grid to indicate their size. (This suggests that they are paved, but in fact many are not.) An arrow marks the main entrance, and arrows on staircases point upwards. Windows with three lines are either above eye level or are of obscured glass. A north point is shown when the oriention of a house is known. When the orientation is not known, the plan is placed with a probable north to the top of the page.

In the figure titles, the year given is that in which the design was completed or tenders for building were received, as far as is known. If a house or project was built its location is noted, and if it is still standing, its address is given in the index when it is known.

IllUS.1 Eduard Ludwig

Single-storey house with a courtyard, 1932-3.

Illus.2 Ole Norgaard Albertslund in Denmark, 1963.


Troglodyte courtyard houses near Tungkwan (Honan) in China.

I Introduction

Privacy is the key quality of the courtyard house. It looks inward onto a private garden which is as enclosed and intimate as any room of the house. As the source of light, and the connexion with the weather and plants, the courtyard is the centre of the dwelling. It facilitates life out of doors because it is sheltered from the wind, free from being overlooked by neighbours and shut off from the noise of the public world. While in summer the courtyard becomes a second living room, in winter it remains the element which unites all the rooms which look onto it.

The courtyard house is essentially an urban type of dwelling. Because it is introspective, its external walls can be shared with neighbouring houses, and it can be built right up against the public domain. Grouped together, courtyard houses generate a dense urban fabric with a clear separation of public and private open spaces. The relationships of rooms to courtyard, and of the house to its neighbours and to public areas, are a physical expression of man's various roles as family member, neighbour and citizen. The courtyard house is symbolic of man the social animal. A cluster of courtyard houses has a cellular structure which suggests that man is working in harmony with nature (illus.j).

The converse of the courtyard house is the pavilion, which looks outward over its surrounding open space, rather than inward into the space it surrounds. The best example of the detached house is the country manor set in its spacious estate. Grouped together and deprived of their open land, detached houses can become mean, obtruding on each other's privacy and open to the noise of the street. Living in such houses leads families to want more and more land, merely to separate them from their neighbours, while a small courtyard can be sufficient for the outdoor activities of the family. The detached house needs wide views over the landscape, while the courtyard can be a microcosm of the whole world of nature. The one represents man as dominant over nature, and the other suggests man contemplating and conserving it.

The relationship of the courtyard to the house is like that of the square to its surrounding terraces, the park to the town, and the national park to the region. In each the open space is the element around


which buildings are arranged. It is more common to think of and build dwellings as 'blobs' ringed about by open space. The detached house is surrounded by its garden, the city block by roads, and the town by its green belt. It has been suggested that instead we should build linear urban areas in a grid enclosing the countryside, so everyone would be within a few minutes of open fields} The corollary of this conception of the open space as a 'blob' and the building as an enclosing linear element at the level of the individual dwelling is the courtyard house.

This paper is concerned only with modern courtyard houses. It is appropriate to deal with them separately because there was very little continuity between their development and that of earlier kinds. The courtyard house of this century is quite different from the ancient vernacular version. It has been built for a smaller family and for a more comfortable way of life than those which existed in previous centuries. In an attempt to explain why so many courtyard houses are being built today, many commentators have tried to show some connexion between them and earlier examples, especially ancient Greek and Roman atrium houses, and Moslem and Spanish patio houses. American writers have been especially fond of citing Greek and North African houses as precedents. But in fact these have had little or no influence on modern designs.

There have been three main lines of development for the modern courtyard house. First, mass courtyard housing in northern Europe was developed without any reference being made to old Mediterranean house types. Second, the less important modern atrium house has been based only approximately on the Roman atrium house. The third main genre, the patio house in the United States, began as an imitation of the Spanish patio house during the Spanish Colonial Revival in southern California (1895-1930). But pioneering architects such as Charles and Henry Greene, Irving Gill and Rudolf Schindler soon used the courtyard form in an original way. American patio houses have typically been large and have had two or more courtyards. After the Depression, the patio house was taken up on the East Coast. Conceived by Marcel Breuer in 1943, the binuclear idea of separate living and sleeping blocks was used in several courtyard houses. The binuclear patio house was developed into the linear patio house in 1956. This long, narrow, terraced house with several patios is the latest American patio house.

While it is associated with ancient precedent, the modern atrium house in Europe is not really similar to it. Its symmetrical quadrangular plan has been reworked throughout northern Europe over the past seventy years. Mass courtyard housing, which has been built much more than the other two types, never had anything to do with earlier courtyard houses. It was created afresh during the search for a new, functional, low-rise housing form for the urban working class. A single-storey plan was adopted in low-rise housing as it had been in high-rise housing


to minimize the house-keeping needed. The courtyard plan was developed to achieve privacy in the garden and a good orientation of the rooms. The first modern courtyard housing was detached and looked south over its private garden. This single aspect courtyard house, designed by Hugo Haring in 1928, was then developed into an L-shaped plan by Hannes Meyer and Ludwig Hilberseimer at the Bauhaus. In 1931 Hilberseimer produced an improved L-shaped courtyard house, with sleeping and living rooms grouped in the two wings of the block, It is this plan which is most used today.

The first large housing scheme was built in Italy in 1952 with a standard L-shaped plan used for three basic house sizes. But since the early 1960'S building activity has been most notable in Germany, Scandinavia and Britain. Walter Segal introduced the L-shaped courtyard house into Britain after the war, and also a two-storey variant of the singleaspect courtyard house. This led to the split level courtyard house in the 1950S and two, three and four-storey clusters of courtyard houses in the 1960s. Construction of courtyard housing has indicated that it costs the same as or a little more than other medium density housing. The best layouts have had a comprehensible but interesting system of alleys and small public open spaces. Social surveys have shown that people who live in courtyard houses do appreciate their qualities. The three lines of development - the patio house, the atrium house, and courtyard housing - have been mostly separate up to now. But European and American experience is now being exchanged, and new types may be developed from this mixture of traditions.

One reason why the modern courtyard houses are quite different from any of the old Mediterranean types is "-that they have mostly been designed for northern climates where vernacular courtyard houses were not traditional. Many larger buildings in colder areas have had quadrangular plans, such as French hotels, Dutch hofjes,2 Norwegian farrnsteads'' and Oxford and Cambridge colleges. But small houses with courtyard arrangements were not to be found until this century. It might be supposed that the courtyard house could have been introduced into northern Europe and the United States by people coming from the Mediterranean. It has been noted that migrant groups tend to cling to their building traditions, even when they are unsuitable to the new area being settled." The patio house was introduced into Latin America in this way. But this paper shows that the modern courtyard house was not developed by migrants from the Mediterranean. Even in California it was the English-speaking settlers coming from the eastern states who adopted and transformed the Spanish patio house."

The courtyard plan works quite differently in hot and cold climates. In hot dry areas exposure to the sun is to be avoided. Courtyards are kept small and overshadowed by high walls, wide eaves and foliage. By sharing the external walls with the neighbouring houses, exposure of vertical surfaces to the sun is

minimized." In the courtyard dark colours are used to reduce glare, and plants and fountains help cool the air through evaporation. In hot humid regions courtyard plans are good for encouraging through ventilation.?

By contrast, in northern climates the courtyard form is used to allow sunlight to penetrate into the house. Rooms can be given large windows without any loss of privacy, and east, south or west orientations can be arranged for each room according to the time of the day it is used most. To admit the long rays of the northern sun into the house, the courtyard needs to be wide and open, rather than deep. High heat losses and draughts are not assets in a northern climate, but, rather, problems which have to be overcome.

An historical treatment of the modern courtyard house has been chosen, because it seems that most courtyard house designs have been derived more from modern precedent than directly from the consideration of functional criteria. An approach which dealt with the courtyard house under such headings as privacy, day lighting and cost would imply that the satisfaction of these various requirements dictated architects' solutions. But in fact architects' designs show that they do rely heavily on earlier solutions to similar design problems. With time, sets of design ideas accumulate which embody the work of many architects. Therefore to fully understand a building type it is best to follow its development on the drawing boards of the many architects who have worked on it. Communication between architects is essential for the accumulation of experience. The architectural press plays an important role in this process. Even if a design is not built, its publication in a widely read journal may make it influential. A lack of publicity may cause good concepts to get lost. Instances of this were William Purcell's bungalow courts, and Hannes Meyer's zig-zag layout of single aspect houses. On the other hand, poor concepts can survive if they are promoted sufficiently, as in the case of the binuclear courtyard house.

Some architects reject the view, which is implicit in the historical approach, that modern architecture has had an evolutionary development. The pioneers of the early modern movement are thought to have started a perpetual revolution, rather than to have founded a new tradition. These designers seek to be as innovative as the pioneers by ignoring the recent past, just as the pioneers refused to use the medieval and classical styles. But as Bruce Allsopp has argued, the early modern movement did not end 'the old kind of relationship between architectural history and practice. The modern movement is growing old, becoming conscious of its own history'vf A rejection of the accumulated experience of the modern movement is unnecessary as our means and ends are not basically different from those ofthe pioneers. To use Christopher Alexander's words, 'we do not need to be ashamed of their ideas - ashamed that we ourselves are not the great originators.? He feels that

architects should 'accept, naturally, that they have arrived in the middle of a living culture'.

Another cause of the neglect of the historical approach to modern architecture is the use of elaborate design methodologies. This approach suggests that each design can be a completely fresh synthesis of consciously considered factors. Expecting architecture to result from following a design method is like expecting a child to speak from a knowledge of grammar. The basic ability to design comes from a long and full acquaintance with buildings, just as speech is learned from hearing others talk. Using a design method does not make one immune from the influences of precedents, and consciously or not all designers are participating to some extent in the evolution of the history of architecture.

Ignorance of precedent can lead to wasted effort.

Time is lost reinventing old ideas, and repeating mistakes. The design of some post-war L-shaped courtyard houses has actually been inferior to the German originals. One can only suppose their designers never saw the earlier plans. If the raison d'itre of an influential design is not understood, its form may be re-used inappropriately. Architects would not give courtyard houses poor orientation if they realized that sunlighting was one of the chief concerns of the first designers.

In the nineteenth cel1tury, books on historical styles were used as sources for new designs. Now that it is accepted that this method was notincompatible with the creation of a genuinely original architecture, the use of histories of modern architecture as source books should not be abjured. When designs are presented in their historical context, there is less danger that they will be copied indiscriminately, because they are shown to relate to one particular situation. A historical handbook which brings together all the previous design work on a building type would facilitate the process of adaptation and amelioration which goes on each time another building is designed. This paper is intended as such a handbook. This is not to propose a return to Victorian practices, but to suggest that the study of modern precedents should be integrated into our method of design more consciously than it is at present.


II The patio house in the United States

The patio house was first introduced into North America by the Spanish. About 1895, after the United States had taken possession of California, the new settlers began to revive the Spanish Colonial style of architecture, and bui~ many of their larger homes with patios. From 1903 some architects began to use the patio house plan independently of the revival. This later led to the multi-patio house, and on the East Coast to the binuclear house in the 1940S and the terraced linear house in the 1950s.

The use of the Spanish word patio for courtyard in the United States points to its architectural origins. The American poet, Longfellow, introduced the word into the English language in 1827, when describing his travels in what later became the Southwest ofthe United States.l? Here the Spanish, and later the Mexicans, had built plain low houses of brick or adobe.H The larger ones took the traditional patio form, and the smaller ones were often grouped around a square, or placita, for defence reasons. The architecture varied from area to area. The Latin architecture of New Mexico shows some influence from the Pueblo Indians' buildings, with battered walls, flat roofs and projecting unhewn beams.P In California, gently sloping tiled roofs are common.P After the Southwest was taken from Mexico in 1846, the porches and verandahs of the architecture of the United States were added to the adobe houses, but this tradition survived for only another couple of decades. As it was described by the designer of several patio houses, Charles Greene, 'the influx of people from the East brings its own traditions and obliterates the impression left by the fast disappearing landmarks of the other race'.14

It was not long before the new settlers in the West revived the Spanish Colonial style, thus introducing the patio house into the domestic architecture of the United States. Elsewhere in the country the Prairie and Craftsman movements had been inspired by a desire to create a truly indigenous American architecture, which would displace the historical styles imported from Europe. Medieval and Renaissance architecture must have seemed especially out of place in the Southwestern landscape. The few remaining Spanish Colonial buildings began to be thought of as genuinely belonging to the United


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Fig.1 William Templeton Johnson

Robert House at Coronado.in California, 1917.

Illus.a William Templeton Johnson

Robert House at Coronado in California, 1917.


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Fig.z Charles and Henry Greene

The Bandini House at Pasadena in California, 1903-

Illus.y Charles and Henry Greene

Hollister House at Hollywood in California, 1906_

States, and architects migrating from the East began to design in the Adobe, Mission, or Spanish style, as it was variously called. Originating in the Mediterranean, Spanish Colonial architecture is naturally well suited to the climate of Southern California. The thick adobe walls and small windows keep the interiors cool, the extended layout allows cross ventilation, and shady verandahs and patios facilitate outdoor living.l"

The distinction between the original tradition and the revival became lost after some time, but at least during the 1890S it was seen clearly. For instance, in 1903 the San Francisco architects, Percy and Hamilton, designed their Taylor House 'in the

Spanish or Mexican style prevalent in California in very early days' .16 But in fact it was more Italianate than Spanish in appearance. This two-storey house had a central courtyard which was 'provided with hammocks on the top deck to be used during hot weather for sleeping'.

As was the case in revivals of other historical styles, the first imitations were inaccurate, but when architects began to copy the old Mission Churches and haciendas more exactly, they found the vocabulary of the Spanish Colonial style rather limited. It was thought compatible to use Spanish and Italian styles for more grandiose buildings.l? The influential journal, The Craftsman, suggested that the Mission style could be 'made more ornate with a slight touch of the Moorish'.18 However, this eclecticism sometimes created a scene where 'an Egyptian tomb with a Spanish balcony stood next to a little blue Turkish mosque'A?

The purest examples of the Spanish Colonial Revival architecture are its unpretentious singlestorey houses. With their cubical massing, undecorated white walls and asymmetrical plans, they have been seen as akin to the buildings of the early modern movement in Europe. The Robert House is an example of a Spanish Colonial Revival House in the Santa Fe style (fig.1 and illus_4).20 The Craftsman concluded that of all the styles available to the architect, 'there is hardly any style which is susceptible to greater variation than this modernized Mission architecture' _ 21

Some architects began to develop their own more modern architecture, but continued to use some elements of Spanish Colonial Architecture, including the patio. The chief pioneers were the Greene brothers, Irving Gill, and Rudolf Schindler. Charles and Henry Greene moved from the East Coast to Pasadena in 1894 and began their practice by designing in various historical styles, including Spanish Mission.P' Later they developed their own more original architecture. Their first patio house was designed in 1903 for a native Californian, Arturo Bandini. He asked for a design in the style of the architecture of his ancestors.s'' The Bandini house plan was Spanish Colonial, being U-shaped with a verandah around a large square patio, and a pergola screening the fourth side (fig.z), But the lightweight timber structure and shingle roof gave the house an appearance that was more Japanese than Spanish.

The Greene brothers designed several other timber houses with patios. The Hollister House (1906) (illus.5)24 and the Crowe House (1913) were U-shaped like the Bandini House, but had deeper patios. The square courtyard of the Freeman Ford House (1904) was almost completely surrounded by the dwelling, except at one corner where there was access under a pergola. The two-storey Irwin House (1903-8) had a small central patio with a fountain and a sleeping gallery on the first floor, rather like the Taylor House.w The Greenes designed in the Spanish Colonial style again for the Culbertson House (1911), which had a large irregular patio.s"


Irving Gill was another migrant from the East who took his cue from the Spanish Colonial style," and went on to develop it into something more original. His undecorated cubical white buildings have been likened to those of the early modern movement in Europe, but they relate more closely to the Californian scene. 'The missions', he wrote in The Craftsman, 'have taught us the beauty and usefulness of the court ... in California we have liberally borrowed this house plan'.27 Gill borrowed the patio house plan in 1910 for the Fulford House in San Diego (illus.6). This single-storey house enclosed a square courtyard. 'Swinging couches and hammocks, some across a corner, some under the arcade, are often used for rest at night as well as afternoon siesta. '28 The patio was covered by a fly screen, supported on a light truss. It has been quite common in the United States to protect courtyards with fly screens, and also with glass roofs.29 (The latter dates back at least until 1909.)21 Gill's twostorey Timkin House (19II) also had a patio with a fly screen covering, and a second courtyard for the children.s?

Rudolf Schindler's work in California shows more European influence than Gill's. He trained in Vienna, emigrated to America in 1914, and settled in southern California in 1920.31 He toured the Southwest in 1915, and was very impressed by the adobe architecture. His project for the Martin Summer House in Taos, New Mexico was a Secessionist version of the Santa Fe style, with battered walls, flat roof, and two courtyards. The Schindler Residence in Hollywood (1921) had these same elements, but it used them to achieve a new spatial complexity. This building consisted of five bed-sitting rooms, which shared one kitchen and three bathrooms. They were loosely grouped to form three patios which were partly enclosed by the lush vegetation of California

. (fig.j and illus.y). The appearance of battered walls was given by thin concrete tilt slabs.~2 Schindler designed at least five more houses with patios between 1922 and 1926, but only one of them was built - the Park Ranch (1925). This house had a large entry court and also a private porch off each bedroom, for outdoor sleeping. The tiny Popinoff House (1924), in the desert south of Palm Springs, was to look onto a small richly planted patio with a pool. Schindler used the word patio not only for courtyards, but also for less well defined areas adjacent to the house, such as terraces. The 'patios' of the houses of that other Viennese immigrant to California, Richard Neutra, were mostly ofthis type. The word has been so devalued in the United States, that it has been defined as 'real estatese for a six-foot by threefoot yard with two trash cans'.33

The use of the patio by the Greenes, Gill, and Schindler gave it a currency which was independent of the Spanish Colonial Revival. It was even used by those who scorned the style, such as Frank Lloyd Wright.34 His Barnsdall House in Hollywood (1917- 20) had a main garden court and a patio for the bedroom wing. His son's Sowden House (1926) and


Illus.6 Irving Gill

Fulford House in San Diego, 1910.

IlluS.7 Rudolf Schindler

Schindler House at Hollywood in California, 1921.

Lloyd Wright House (1928) also had patios,32 and a former assistant to Frank Lloyd Wright, Albert Chase McArthur, built his brother an unusual patio house at Phoenix, Arizona, in 1927, made up of a series of symmetrical elements (figA).35 Several of Wright's Usonian Houses of the late 1930S were Lshaped with 'interior gardens' like those developed in Germany earlier that decade (see chapter IV), but of course their detail design was more sophisticated (fig.5).36 The relationship between the entrance, kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms was, if anything, better than those of the German plans.

The houses described so far were organized around one main patio. A few had secondary courtyards as well, such as the children's patio in Gill's Timkin House, and the bedroom patio in the Barnsdall House. Architects began to design houses with several patios partly because it became the fashion 'to sleep in sight of the stars'.30 This was all the rage in southern California in the first decades of the century, and provision for sleeping outside was made in various ways. In the Schindler Residence, sleeping porches were built on the roof, and in the Greenes' Irwin House there was a first-floor sleeping gallery around the patio. Harwell Harris was the first


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Schindler House at Hollywood in California, 1921.

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C. H. McArthur House at Phoenix in Arizona,1927.


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architect to give each bedroom its own private courtyard for outdoor sleeping. His Lowe House (1934) also had an entrance patio and a plant -enclosed terrace off the living room (fig.6 and illus.Sj.s?

The idea of giving each zone of the house its own outdoor space for related open air activities was clearly expressed in Frank Lloyd Wright's Wingspread (1937), where four wings radiate in swastika fashion from the Great Hall. Richard Neutra's Amity Village House (1939) also had four outdoor zones - entry, service, play, and social 'courts', but only the last of these was really an enclosed patio.If The six outdoor spaces of Bernard Rudofsky's Arnstein House in Sao Paulo (1943) were fully enclosed courtyards, which were formed by wings extending from the large central living room to the high boundary wall.39 The swastika pattern was used for a 'multipatio' house ~y Donald Olsen in 1948 (fig. 7). 40 This was one ofthe first patio houses in the United States which was intended to be terraced, rather than be built individually and free standing.

Most of the patio houses mentioned so far were large and custom-designed for wealthy clients. It is easier to enclose a patio in a big house, and a large floor area is necessary if several courtyards are to be formed. When the multipatio plan is used for a medium-sized house, it is liable to generate courtyards which are too narrow, especially for a northern climate. The smaller mass-produced houses in the Spanish Colonial style rarely had patios.

A few small houses with patios can be found, however, in bungalow courts. Bungalow courts were clusters of small rented houses grouped in a cul-desac or a court.s! The landlord would maintain a landscaped common area and sometimes also a clubhouse.s'' These bungalow courts date back at least to 1908, and were first built for winter holidaymakers, but later were used as permanent homes.w Today's motels (sometimes called motor courts) may be descended from these bungalow courts.

William Purcell designed several bungalow courts with small patio houses. He is remembered chiefly for his early Prairie architecture done in partnership with Elmslie in Chicago.v' Moving to California in the 1920S, Purcell became interested in low-cost housing.s- Possibly he was stimulated by contemporary European developments with which he kept in touch. He saw bungalow courts, with the dwellings closely organized on the ground.w as an alternative to the block of flats. This is how some German courtyard-housing designers described their projects a few years later.

Purcell worked on improving bungalow court layouts. A 1921 scheme, for example, had a garage court at the front of the site, with footpaths running through a common garden to the ten small houses behind in two terraces. Each house consisted of one bedroom and a living room in an L form enclosing a small private patio. This hierarchy of spaces gave a graduated change from public to private domains. A similar project of eight detached bungalows, by Purcell, was built in an adobe idiom (fig.8).47

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Lowe House at Altadena in California, 1934.

IlIus.8 H. H. Harris

Lowe House at Altadena in California, 1934.

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The patio house was hardly found outside the Southwest until after the Depression. East Coast architects had been kept well informed of Californian development, but the journals emphasized California's unusual climate and historical heritage. Patio houses were thought of as exotic and not fitting for other parts of the country. Gustav Stickley did once advocate the patio plan in his journal, The Craftsman, as suitable for 'a summer house in any section ofthe United States'.48 His Bungalow around a Courtyard (1904) was U-shaped, 'an arrangement which carries with it an association of the old Mission architecture of California' (fig.9).49 The plan was probably based on the Greenes' Bandini House, which Stickley may have visited while he was touring the Southwest, a year after its completion.s"

Fig.8 William Gray Purcell

Bungalow Court in Southern California, c.192I.

Fig.o Gustav Stickley

A bungalow built around a courtyard, 1904.

In the 1940s, architects outside the Southwest were becoming more susceptible to influences from Europe, as well as California. Much of the work on patio houses since the war has been done in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The multipatio concept was reinforced by examples from various parts of Latin America, where the Spanish tradition has survived. The pre-war immigrants from Europe brought with them the atrium house idea (see chapter III), and the functional articulation of the plan that was the basis of the binuclear patio house. Also from Europe came the Miesian style of courtyard house, brought first by Philip Johnson and later by Mies van der Rohe, but they had little influence on American patio houses (see chapter IV).

Bernard Rudofsky wrote a long article in 1943 recommending the patio house for all parts of the


country. 51 He emphasized the shelter from cold winds afforded by the patio and contrasted its privacy with that offered by the garden of a suburban bungalow. He likened the patio to the early settler's stockade to give it respectability among those who were still building in the English Colonial style. Rudofsky even thought it necessary to counter criticisms that the patio was un-American and feudalistic. Nevertheless, he provoked one woman to write a long letter attacking the patio as an instrument for segregating her sex from public life. 52 She wrote that Rudofsky 'regrets the anglicization of North American architecture killed the patio. The Britisher gets blamed for lots of things, and no doubt can be blamed for bringing women out of seraglios and grilled retreats'.

Of course, popular prejudice and conservatism did not inhibit design development. The binuclear patio house came about by dividing the house into two parts, to enclose a patio between them. The first built example of this was the Fairchild House by Hamby and Nelson (1940) (fig.IO).53 Built on a 7' 5 metre wide site on Manhattan, a three-storey block of dining room and bedrooms faced a twostorey block containing a living room and studio at the foot of the plot. The patio was enlivened by diagonal lines of the ramps connecting the two parts of the house (illus.c). The term binuclear was not coined until 1943. Marcel Breuer, who had been in Cambridge since 1937, used it to describe a house with living and sleeping separated into two blocks, with the entrance the connecting link between the two. 54 Breuer's binuclear houses were oriented outwards, as was expressed by their butterfly roofs, but the ·term is used here for introspective houses also. Even the binuclear house may have originated in California, however, as it was suggested first by Alice


Austin in a little book published in Los Angeles in

1935.55 She placed the sleeping and living blocks end on to the road, and put each back to back with the living and sleeping blocks of the two neighbouring houses. A screen wall divided the patios from the road. But it was probably Breuer's treatment of the binuclear idea that made it popular among courtyard house designers.

Ralf Rapson's design for a binuclear patio house connected the two halves of the house by giving the patio a glass roof (illus.ro) (1945).56 Rapson held that 'it is a lot of theorizing bunk to attempt to zone various living activities since the average family lives all over the house'. The 'food-living area' and 'sleeping bay' opened directly onto the patio or 'greenbelt', 'where children and adults alike may live in close association with nature'. The binuclear idea was soon taken up in California in such houses as the Mayhew House by Clarence Mayhew and Serge Chermayeff (1947),57 and. more recently Donald Olsen's huge Cavalier Residence (1966).58

Another New York terrace house with something of the binuclear arrangement was Philip Johnson's Rockefeller Guest House (1950) (fig.II).59 The tiny patio was flooded to give a greater sense of separation


Illus.9 William Hamby and George Nelson Fairchild House in New York, 1940.

IllUS.10 Ralf Rapson

Case study house number four, 1945.

Living room

,c::;!.::==' ~
""~ k:'
Dining room
I j
i Kitchen
i I
.. ~ Flg.IO

Fig.ro William Hamby and George Nelson Fairchild House

in New York, 1940.

Fig.II Philip Johnson Rockefeller Guest House in New York, 1950.


Single bedroom Single Single
bedroom bedroom
r-..c:=J __ C= _C=
Masrer J J-I
bedroom I m
-------- ........ ~-------.

Dining room Living room
- I
,--Kitchen -C
~lffi Lffi
Fig_12 Chester Nagel

Nagel House at Five Fields in Massachusetts, 1953.


r I ~--j

---, Carport


i i


between the living room and the bedroom beyond. This means that the patio itself cannot be used, and the bedroom can be reached only by going outside and across the pool on stepping stones. This could be most inconvenient in winter. (There are other bedrooms above the living room, but these were regarded as secondary and included to give the street facade adequate height, according to the architect. 60) Johnson's Hodgson House (1951) showed more affinity with Breuer's outward looking H-shaped plans.v-

The most classical example of the binuclear patio house was designed by Chester Nagel in 1953.62 Nagel had been a member of the Architects' Collaborative, and built his house at T AC's estate at Five Fields, Massachusetts. The two parts of the house were contained between two parallel walls, which 'blinkered' outward views and enclosed the patio completely (fig. 12). As in the Rockefeller Guest House, the architect was loath to mar the clean separation of the two pavilions and provided only a covered way between them. (Eliot Noyes's own house in Connecticut built two years later had an almost identical plan.)63 Jose Luis Sert's own house in Cambridge (1958) was another binuclear patio house, whose square central courtyard suggested the atrium idea also (see chapter III).64 Other atrium houses were Johnson's qavis House (1953)61 and the Miesian Browne House in California (1963) by Wallace Neff - a former Spanish Colonial Revivalist.65

In Nagel's version of the binuclear plan, the house became a strip of alternating plans and patios. Morse Payne, another member of T AC, took this pattern one step further in 1956 by splitting the house into three parts instead of two, and arranging them along a narrow terraced site (fig.13).66 One problem ofthis linear patio house is its extended circulation. Payne put the connecting passages either on one side or down the middle of the site, bridging over the patios. Among the virtues of this house type are the intriguing long views through the house and the varied daylighting effects. Payne's houses were to be fully glazed, allowing views right through one pavilion to the next. He also suggested varying the levels of the different pavilions, and ramping the connecting passages as they were in the Fairchild House. This suggests how the linear patio house might be used on a sloping site. By staggering the pavilions of neighbouring houses, noise could not pass from one patio to the next so easily.

Serge Chermayeff and his Harvard students took up the linear patio house and developed it. They increased the privacy within the house, making each patio relate to a particular part of the dwelling. In other words they applied the principles of the multipatio house to the linear patio house. Chermayeff, who taught at Harvard from 1953 to 1961, was particularly concerned with combating the electronic and mechanical noise that had invaded the modern house.v? He believed that 'the beautiful open space of the family home is obsolete for no other reason



Car parking


Dining room


.L-. '-. ._-_.- _.'-. I
Two bedrooms oyer
i Living room
I~ U
_._- .- -_-_-_._.- "

F-"r ii
1\ r
Living room Master
Dining room L

1 _--=1 ~
Bedroom I
~-1 I 1
Bedroom -:::r bedroom I 1
Dressing ~
room~L Bedroom 1
I --
b iTT
1'1- Fig.I3 Morse Payne

Low-cost row housing for tomorrow's suburb, 1956.


'---o __ I~ utt

Dining room -1
~ Living room
un Ii
1 I
Ai- -j
-1 __ ,
] '-'_ I B,&_
Bedroom Bedroom ~
~. '.

I '*


p- ,

u vin ,_ IIi=! I Dining

I room


U Family

_+-+--1-1 Kitchen



_-t--j--+--III-I~ Bedroom



1=:I=b::::l=:::'::::II"'--- r :

Bedroom rr:-::-1 Bedroom



Fig.I4 Serge Chermayeff and Harvard Students Plan variation 2, 1957.

Fig.15 Serge Chermayeff and Harvard Students Plan variation 5, 1957.

IllUS.II Serge Chermayeff et al. Chermayeff House in New Haven, 1962.

~-f Bed-sitting room
~ I
Dining room Living room

--71 l Double bedroom
~_Ll __
~~ ~ Double bedroom
Fig.16 Serge Chermayeff et al. Chermayeff House in New Haven, 1962.

than that the noise came in', and that it was now necessary to separate the different parts of the house.v'' Five plans by Chermayeff and others were published in 195769 and four more in 1963 in the book Community and Prioacy.t» Three ofthe first set were more or less binuclear houses, but had a room between the two nuclei which made the plan Ushaped (see for instance fig. 14). Plan 4, however, had the children's and parents' bedrooms at opposite sides of the central patio, with the dining area as a common meeting ground. Only in Plan 5 (fig.r y) were the patios private to different parts of the dwelling, as in the multipatio house. Each of six patios related specifically to one indoor function. There were discrete living, dining and family rooms; parents' and children's bedrooms had insulating lobbies with separate bathrooms, and there was also a toilet at the front door. This was taking the separation of rooms, each with its matching outdoor space, to an extreme that is almost Victorian.

Plan 5 was published a second time in Community and Privacy together with four more designs by Chermayeff et al. Plans 14, 15 and 17 were simpler and more practical. They put the parents' bedrooms at the front end of the house, so that their bathrooms could be accessible from the entrance lobby. The living rooms were adjacent to the front door and the family rooms lay between the parents' and children's domains. Instead of the dichotomy between sleeping and waking areas of the binuclear house, we have a continuum from adult to child domains in the linear patio house. In some plans the children even have a separate entrance at their end of the house. In so far as a house can effect family life, this type of house would facilitate avoidance rather than resolution of conflict within the family and an accentuation of the generation gap.

The house plans by Chermayeff in Community and Privacy are a reductio ad absurdam of the principle of separating functions. For example, to pass through Plan 17, which satisfied all the criteria laid down in the book, one would have to open and close no less than eleven doors. This extreme compartmentalization has been avoided, however, in the linear patio houses that have been built. Chermayeff's own house in New Haven (1962) was a simplified version of Plan 17, with three pavilions connected by a corridor on one side (fig.re and illUS.II).71 This house type has been used in the first large project to be built in the United States (fifty-eight houses). The part of the country where the linear patio house has first proved to be acceptable is, of course, California (fig.17).72 Christopher Alexander, coauthor of Community and Privacy, designed a similar two-storey house for the 1969 Lima housing competition.r'' Here the continuum from the front to the back of the house was one from public to private domains, rather than from adult to child. This was to allow for traditional Peruvian entertaining in its various degrees of formality and intimacy.

A simplified version of Plan 14 has been built in Britain. Peter Phippen's houses at Hatfield (1963)


IllUS.I2 Peter Phippen

Housing at Hatfield in Britain, 1963.

are two rooms wide with patios on alternate sides of the house, but the compartmentalization is less strict, so that interesting views are opened up through the house (fig. IS and illus.I2).74 The fronts of these houses are unusually open and welcoming for courtyard houses. Although the floor areas are ten per cent larger than is normal for Britain (Parker Morris space standards give sixty-seven square metres or 720 square feet for a four-person single-storey house), the patios are very small - three by five metres (illus.r j), The local planning authority even rejected the scheme for being substandard and having light wells.?" Although the finishes are spartan and sound insulation between adjacent houses poor, the construction costs were above average (see chapter V and table 2).

In Europe it may be some time before we can afford to build the linear patio house at a satisfactory standard, but high costs should not be an obstacle in the United States. Some Californian advisors to merchant builders have recommended the patio home as 'that something out of the ordinary ... to attract more of the consumer's dollars', because it 'gives the ad. writer a real basis for writing exciting copy'.76 But most of the housing market outside California remains very conservative and it seems unlikely that many patio houses will be built in the United States.


Fig.I7 Backen, Arrigoni and Ross Housing at Tustin in California, 1969.




n Hall I
_jICh'L ____
I Bedroom

Dining room ~-II
~ Patio
Living room I
=P'~=r== __
Fig.I8 Peter Phippen and Associates Housing at Hatfield in Britain, 1963.

IllUS.I3 Peter Phippen

Housing at Hatfield in Britain, 1963.

III The atrium house in northern Europe

Like the patio house, the atrium house relates to a historical precedent, but unlike the patio house its form has not undergone any basic changes. It has simply recurred infrequently over the last seventy years in various parts of northern Europe. Rather than outline any historical development, this chapter simply describes the various forms in which this house type has appeared.

As the name suggests, the atrium house harks back to the houses of ancient Rome. The atrium of the Roman house was not so much a courtyard as the main hall of the house, with an opening in the roof to admit light, which was called an impluuium.t? It was possible to have an atrium without any opening, which was then called an atrium testudinate. These houses are thought to have developed from the simple huts of the seventeenth-century B.C. Pompeiians, which had their roofs pierced to let out smoke from the family hearth below. In the houses of classical Rome, the hearth was replaced by a pool, into which the roof drained. But this space remained the centre of the house, the main lobby and the place for the family gods. According to Vitruvius, the atrium plan should have the proportions of five to three, three to two or the golden section.t'' The Roman house usually had a second larger courtyard, called the peristyle, and was terraced.

The twentieth-century atrium house differs in several respects from the Roman model. It is typically detached and square; the atrium is also square, and is open and planted. A pool is often found in the centre, and an arcade may surround it. The entrance of the atrium house typically lies on a central axis, and the roof slopes inward and may be of Roman tiles. The modern atrium house has a simple, symmetrical image, which perhaps explains why it has appealed to architects so often.

It is difficult to make the small modern house fit into this straitjacket of a plan. Either the floor area is too small to occupy all four sides of the courtyard, or the courtyard becomes too small. As the modern family in northern climes is not willing to circulate out of doors, the house easily becomes a maze of corridors, which tend to cut the rooms off from the courtyard. This problem has been solved in some designs by roofing over the atrium, so that

it can serve as circulation space. This atrium testudinate may be lit with clerestory windows. An example of this, albeit not modern, was Belsay House in Northumberland, built between 1810 and 1817 by the amateur architect Sir Charles Monk."? This Palladian mansion was square in plan with a central hall which has the Vitruvian proportions of five to three and is surrounded by colonnades on two storeys.

Another amateur architect created something similar to Belsay House a century later in a novel. John Galsworthy described Robin Hill as an atrium house in those parts of The Forsyte Saga written between 1903 and 1906: 'A rectangular house of two storeys was designed as a quadrangle ... this court, circled by a gallery on the upper floor, was roofed with a glass roof supported by eight columns running up from the ground'<? The court was paved with 'dull ruby tiles that extended from the foot of the walls to the verge of a circular clump of tall iris plants, surrounding in turn a sunken basin of white marble filled with water ... purple leather curtains along one entire side, framing a huge white tiled stove' divided the court from Soames's picture gallery.s! 'The central partitions of the skylight had been slid back and the warm air from outside penetrated into the very heart of the house.' The fictional architect of Robin Hill, Philip Bosinney, is described as avant-garde, and was probably meant to be a member of the Arts and Crafts movement.

Several architects of the Arts and Crafts movement, such as Edwin Lutyens, Baillie Scott and Charles Voysey designed houses with courtyards in the 1900s. Of course, these architects were consciously referring to old English rather than Roman architecture. According to Baillie Scott, 'a house built round a court is a form which is without precedent in the past'. 82 Courtyards were often fitted casually into the relaxed asymmetrical compositions of Arts and Crafts houses, as in Lutyens's Orchard House (1899) (illUS.I4),83 and C. E. Mallows's Tirley Court (1908).84 James Forbes's and John Tate's house at Witley (1907)85 was symmetrical about one axis with a cloistered courtyard surrounded by one-, two- and three-storey buildings (illUS.I5). The really classical atrium houses of this


Illus.ra Edwin Lutyens

Orchard House at Godalming in Surrey, 1899.

Illus.r j Forbes and Tate

House at Witley in Surrey, 1907.

period were Baillie Scott's Everdene (1906) (illus. 16),86 and Voysey's bungalow at Frinton-on-Sea (1908) (fig.I9).87 Both were one-storey houses to be built around large square courtyards with pools in their centres. The form of Voysey's house was created in response to a very exposed site with little or no view:

'Hence the garden court, which is planned to catch the sun without the wind. Being entirely enclosed, all the doors can be left open at night, so that a family desiring to sleep in the open air can enjoy it to their heart's content.'

Voysey built a similar house at Combe Down, Bath the following year in a Gothic style with a stone summer house in the large courtyard.sf

Some of the Scandinavian atrium houses showed the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement,


Illus.16 Baillie Scott Everdene, 1906.

~ IwLJ~~J ~
~ Scullery 11
Kitchen Lt_t- ,..-11
.. l_t=r=~ __
,_bj) ~ I

Coals Bedroom
r-- I

Dining room


Parlour ! Box
Bedroom Bedroom
l room
- - Fig.19 Charles F. A. Voysey

Proposed bungalow at Frinton-on-Sea, 1908.

notably Povl Baumann's house at Hellerup in Denmark (1916) (fig.20).89 Several of Eliel Saarinen's villas at Munkkiniemi, Helsinki (1915), were to have had courtyards.?? and Kay Fisker's hotel at Solred beach (1918) had the typical features of the atrium house, albeit on a larger scale.s! Haaken Linden's house near Helsinki (1925-8), with its cloistered entry courtyard, was also in this style.92 But other continental atrium houses were more formal, relating more closely to the Roman model. One of Tony Garnier's houses in his Cite Industrielle (1901-4) had what Vitruvius would have called a Tuscan atrium, with no columns supporting the wide overhang (fig.21).93 A tall poplar tree was shown rising surprisingly through the impluvium (illus.r r), Garnier's villa at Lyon (1920) had an attached courtyard of a formal atrium character. 94

The atrium form can be perceived in the experimental house am Horn, designed for the 1923 Bauhaus exhibition by the artist Georg Muche in

Dining room


Fig.20 Pov! Baumann

House at Hellerup in Denmark, 1916.

Living room

~ I , I
.,r--.,. I i~
~ ~ ~
~ i I
I I il ~ ~I
I I ;&iliro~L
~._J !I 'if».11~ iR~ i I
I --::: I-- I--
""= p=. ~I iroom ~ .. t

I h= h I r= I
~ - .-
Study I
• Bedroom Bedroom
Master bedroom
I • -. r-
~\. .///
~. Fig.21 Tony Garnier

House with seven bedrooms and a study, Cite Industrielle, 1901-4.

Illus.r r Tony Garnier

House with seven bedrooms and a study, Cite Industrielle, I90I-4 .

..... ...".,~~~~-.

Hall I Kitchen

I-J--r:1 D:g


Living room

Child's bedroom

Fig.22 Georg Muche

House am Horn in Weimar, I923.

Illus.t S Georg Muche

House am Horn in Weimar, I923.

Bedroom Bedroom Servant's Kitchen U·
bedroom I
-. .... I I
I n..
i I
i Bedroom
I 10
~ ....
'rr ..... --.-
Living room
Study Porch
0--_--_-- .
....... . ...... _._'"

i _ . .11

Fig.23 Oiva Kallio

Oivala Atrium House in Helsinki, I925.

Up to , Kitchen
I Living-studio Dining
1 --I I
I _bof

· '-I
· D
· -i Bedroom

· Master
I ! .... J. bedroom F
I Guest wing

Fig.24 Alvar Aalto

Aalto Summer House at Muuratsalo, 1952-3.

IllUS.19 Oiva Kallio

Oivala Atrium House in Helsinki, 1925.

association with Walter Gropius (fig.22).95 Here the central space was roofed over and lit by clerestory windows, to serve as the living room (illUS.I8). Similar in outline was Oiva Kallio's Oivala Atrium House in Helsinki (1925) (fig.23).96 This timber house in a classical style was published widely. Der Baumeister commended the shelter and privacy of the 'primeval' atrium (illus.rc)."? This was one of the most pleasant examples of the atrium house type. It should be noted that the normal number of rooms of the house are supplemented by a studio, a study and a large porch, which allow the house to extend all the way around the courtyard. By keeping the basic accommodation on one side of the courtyard, the circulation was quite compact.

An interesting attempt to solve the circulation problem which is inherent in the atrium house was

IllUS.21 Alvar Aalto

Aalto Summer House at Muuratsalo, 1952-3.

Illus.zo Gebhard Apprich Atrium House, 1931.

made by the German Gebhard Apprich in 1931 (illus.zcj.P'' He surrounded the atrium with a corridor, but as it was to be glass-roofed and walled, it would not cut off the rooms from the courtyard. An even closer integration of the house and the atrium was achieved much later in a design by the Swede Bengt Warne, for a house intended for mass production (1959).99 The atrium was covered with an outward sloping glass roof which could be opened in good weather.

Alvar Aalto's own summer house at Muuratsalo (1952-3) was an interesting marriage of the atrium and L-shaped courtyard house plans (see chapter IV).l°O The courtyard was perfectly square and well defined by high surrounding walls (fig.za). In the centre was a hearth (illUS.2I). The formality of the atrium was achieved without any distortion of the


interior floor plan. It is possible to make an atrium plan work well if there is enough floor area in the house. One fairly successful example was Eva and Nils Koppel's house at Lake Lyngby in Denmark (1960), which included a large garage (fig.25),101

The atrium idea can be seen cropping up in the work of various architects. Megelvang and jern Utzon won a competition in 1953 with a house that was to be expanded around the edge of its site and would eventually enclose an atrium (fig.26),1°2 This was the precursor of Utzon's famous courtyard houses at Helsingfors and Fredensborg (I956), with their Roman tiled roofs sloping towards the courtyards,103 They in turn probably influenced Michael Neylan's houses at Harlow (I960),104 Several architects who perceived the difficulty of stretching the small house all the way round an atrium, have resorted to combining four L-shaped houses to create one atrium. Examples of this would include Uli Seeck's fourteen houses at Munich (1932),105 on which was based a project by Svend Andersen (1949),106 and also seventy-two houses by Newcastle City Architect's Department (I967).107 This arrangement results in the four courtyards lacking acoustic privacy, and at least two houses having poor orientation.

Finally, mention must be made of Alison and Peter Smithson's House of the Future (fig.27),l°8 Built for the 1956 Ideal Horne Exhibition, it was a completely introverted dwelling for a childless couple. Its central 'patio' with a water butt for rainwater from the roof, and its centrally-placed front door suggest that this house belongs in the category of atrium house if in any at all.



Bedroom Bedroom

Living room


Fig.25 Eva and Nils Koppel

Atrium House at Lake Lyngby in Sweden, 1960.


~~ore 'I Bed-sitting room :r:r:r

~ .~;~

u.Li..Ll.Ll.Ll.Itl Dining 0

: neT

i :- ........ I==J. ...


.. _''_ ..

r _ ..

- 1-- -

[_ ---

Building line

Fig.26 Megelvang and J0m Utzon House type for Skane, 1953.

Fig.27 Alison and Peter Smithson House of the Future at the Ideal Home Exhibition in London, 1956.

IV Courtyard housing in the Weimar Republic

The third line of development, that of mass housing with courtyards, began in quite different circumstances from those of the patio and atrium houses. As has been shown, the latter were at first intended to recreate historical styles. They were typically custom-built for rich clients. By contrast, European courtyard housing was completely modern. It was developed out of the Garden City movement as a new type of mass housing for lower-income groups. New courtyard forms were created, not to evoke a Mediterranean atmosphere, but rather to make the most of a northern climate, to ensure privacy and facilitate housework.

Today mass housing is one of the commonest commissions in architects' offices. But at the beginning of the century few architects had experience of this type of building. With the great changes that occured in the aftermath of the First World War many architects turned their attention to mass housing for the first time. In Britain philanthropists had been interested in providing healthier housing for the working classes since the middle of the last century.U'? Their approach was to improve existing types of mass housing, the tenement and the cottage. The Garden City movement was particularly concerned with providing housing with gardens for the poor. Another approach was to scale down middleclass house plans, but as Raymond Unwin pointed out, this can lead to too many undersized rooms.U"

The approach to mass housing on the continent after the First World War was more radical. Architects and city officials sought to replace the old tenement slums with new types of housing. As Ludwig Hilberseimer wrote in 1929, 'the basis of planning and housing has completely changed through a strengthened feeling of social responsibility, the demands of the hygienists, and the wishes of the housewives'.111 The high-rise slab block of flats, set in ample green space, was developed and promoted during this period. Low-rise mass housing also received much attention on the continent, but this work is not as well known today. It was, however, approached with as much originality as highrise housing. 'Let us not be satisfied with a scaleddown villa', the Berliner Hugo Haring urged his fellow architects, 'but let us lay the foundations of a

new form of house' .112 The new form of house which was developed was the one-storey house with a courtyard.

The low-rise housing designed after the First World War was typically terraced and of one and two storeys, such as Le Corbusier's housing at Troyes (1919)113 or Gropius's at Dessau Torten (1927).114 Some of these had porches or outhouses which gave some privacy from the neighbours, but it was not in essence courtyard housing.U" Though flat roofed, and sometimes built with industrialized methods, this housing was not basically different from what was then being built at Letchworth and Welwyn. Working from this norm, however, Hugo Haring developed something quite new. His first step was to distinguish between the three functions of the window - light, ventilation and view.116 Only living rooms required a view, he maintained, and therefore all others could be lit and ventilated from above in the one-storey house. His so-called Windowless House, designed in 1924, had windows in only one facade and thus had a single aspect. The other three external walls of the house were shared as party walls. The compact back-to-back terraced arrangement meant that the houses faced each other and their gardens had no privacy.

Haring corrected this defect in his L-house (1928). He detached the single aspect house from its terrace, and placed it perpendicular to the road (fig.zx), Each house faced south and the windowless back wall of the next house. A high screen wall divided the road from the garden, so that it became completely private to the house. This was the first single aspect courtyard house. It was called an L-house because an open porch could be built at one end of the courtyard so that the two roofs formed an L (illus.zz). It was from this house type that the L-shaped courtyard house was developed.

Single aspect courtyard housing became popular among German and Scandinavian architects, but little was actually built. Another Berlin architect, Peter Friedrich, improved upon Haring's rather clumsy interior layout with a neat and flexible plan for a small mass-produced house (1931) (fig.29).u7 Walter Segal was commended for a two-storey single aspect house in a 1931 competition for a cheap


detached house.Us It was Segal who later introduced courtyard housing into Britain. The Finn, Oiva Kallio, whose atrium house has already been described in chapter III, contributed another twostorey single aspect house to a Munich competition for the cheap small house in 1932.119 Hilding Ekelund, another Finn, designed one- and two-storey houses for the building exhibition of the northern countries of 1932.120 By staggering adjacent rows of houses, he avoided the second floor of one house overlooking the courtyard of the next (fig.jo). None of these designs was executed.

Hugo Haring did get some single-aspect courtyard houses built. His opportunity came in 1932 when he was invited to take part in designing houses for the Werkbundsiedlung Lainz in Vienna, an Austrian equivalent of the 1927 Weissenhofsiedlung in Stuttgart. Haring put up five houses which were very similar to his L-houses, with bathrooms and kitchens lit from above on the north side of the house, and living and bedrooms facing south (illus.23).121 As Moderne Bauformen described it:

'. . . the one-storey building has almost no aspect on three sides, and one side with large windows looking into the garden. The north wall of the next house is quite blank to the garden, increasing its habitableness.'122

Next to Haring's five single-aspect houses in Vienna stand two L-shaped courtyard houses designed by the Austrian Anton Brenner. Brenner had previously taught in the architecture studio of the Bauhaus while Hannes Meyer was director, and Ludwig Hilberseimer was the instructor in housing and town planning. It is these two architects who created the L-shaped courtyard house. Walter Gropius brought Meyer into the Bauhaus in April 1927 to start the architecture department. A year later Meyer succeeded Gropius as director of the school, and brought Hilberseimer into the architecture department. During his three years at the Bauhaus, Meyer designed two projects which included low-rise housing: the German Trade Unions School, and the Dessau Torten housing project.

Meyer's design for the teachers' houses of the Trade Unions School appeared in two variants. The first was in the entry for a competition set in 1927.123 It showed two-storey single aspect houses placed perpendicular to the road like Haring's L-houses (illus.za), Instead of the open porch spanning between one house and the next, there was a short one-storey wing with a terrace on its roof.

Having won the competition in 1928, Meyer refined his design in the Bauhaus architecture studio. The teachers' houses that were built differ in three respects from the 1928 design (fig.31).124 First, the houses were set into the sloping site, so that the front door was at first-floor level. All the main rooms were at this first-floor level, and the ground floor was more like a basement with a study, hobby and boiler rooms. Second, what was in the first design a roof terrace, became a large, high-ceilinged room,


~. ! U L IL JI. J-~--:-J:--:;!_I-L!_i_IUI_
I I I Cupboards I
I Housekeeping
~- oom Bedroom BO<w= Bedroom
~~ fO==
--- !
Glass roof ! Courtyard
i Fig.28 Hugo Haring L-House, 1928.


Illus.22 Hugo Haring L-House, 1928.

Arranged for a childless couple

Kit~en I~:B~
~: ] Living room = - = Bedroom

" ~-~
Kitchen I Hathruom
_j J Living room - Master
m- I Bedroom Arranged for couple WIth children

Fig.29 Peter Friedrich

Small mass-produced houses, 1931.

IIlus.23 Hugo Haring

Housing at the Vienna Werkbundsiedlung, 1932.


I1Ius.24 Hannes Meyer

First design for teachers' houses of the German Trade Unions School in Bernau, 1928.

Ba~!_J_! ~K~cnL
~_' II I
Master I I==-+-
Living room I _~ I
bedroom I Bedroom
1-. I

I Fig.30 Hilding Eke lund

Housing for the Building Exhibition of the Northern Countries, 1932.

j---- I Bathroom
Bedroom ~ Master
d bedroom
IKitchen I Hall/Living room
, I
Living room I Terrace
I ~
III Fig.31 Hannes Meyer

Second design for teachers' houses of the German Trade Unions School in Bernau, 1929.


perhaps for use as a studio. This made the main floor plan L-shaped. In the angle of the L is a large terrace which is like a courtyard, being enclosed on three sides (illus.zy). The third innovation was to stagger the row of houses, giving it a zigzag outline.

In his architecture course at the Bauhaus, Meyer emphasized that designs should come out of conscious consideration of the physical and social factors. He wrote that he 'taught the students the link between building and society' .125 As a teaching aid he produced several diagrammatic designs which satisfied certain specific requirements. One such design was a scheme of single-aspect houses, which were again like Haring's L-houses, with open porches spanning between the front of one house and the back of the next.126 But instead of placing them perpendicular to the road, they were at fortyfive degrees to the road, so that they have a zigzag layout reminiscent of the teachers' houses at Bernau. This scheme was intended to illustrate how houses should relate to each other, to the access road and path, and to the sun.

This zigzag terrace of single aspect houses reappeared in the site plan of the Dessau Torten housing project as house type B (fig.32).127 Hannes Meyer was commissioned in I928 to complete the district which had been started by Gropius. Here the living rooms faced to the south-west and the road, and the bedrooms had a south-east aspect onto the back garden. The privacy achieved without the use of screen walls was remarkable and the insolation was excellent. Unfortunately none of the lowrise houses in Meyer's scheme were built, and this zigzag terrace idea has not been revived.

The Dessau Torten scheme also included some L-shaped courtyard houses. Who it was that actually designed them it is not ,certain. Meyer had again involved the Bauhaus architecture department in his work, where Hilberseimer was an instructor. It may be significant that neither Meyer nor Hilberseimer ever referred to each other's work on courtyard housing, although together they created the type. When Meyer published the plan of the Dessau Torten L-shaped house ten years later in a Mexican journal, he gave the designer as a Bauhaus student, Ernst Gohl.l28 But Hilberseimer produced two very similar plans in the year after the project was commissioned, I929. He gave all the credit for developing courtyard housing to Hugo Haring. In I929 he wrote that Haring 'has been active in planning the one-storey house for years, and back to him goes the L-shaped plan, which allows all the rooms to give directly onto the garden'.129 It seems likely that Hilberseimer rather than Meyer designed the Dessau Torten L-shaped houses, but Meyer's work on the Bernau houses, the zigzag Type B houses, and his whole systematic approach to design makes him a key figure in the creation of modern courtyard housing.

The plan which Meyer attributed to Gohl had a well-enclosed courtyard with most of the rooms looking onto it (fig.jg), The poor points of the plan

Illus.zy Hannes Meyer

Second design for teachers' houses at the German Trade Unions School in Bernau, I929.

Fig.32 Hannes Meyer/Dessau Torten Housing Types Band D, 1928-9.

__ I!
I --T
M,,'~ 1 L
bedroom ] Bedroom Living room


I ~aUndry and storL Fig.33 Ernst Gohl

Housing for Dessau Torten, 1929.

Fig.34 Ludwig Hilberseimer Single-storey terrace housing, 1929.

IIlus.26 Ludwig Hilberseimer Single-storey terrace house, 1929.

- I
-1-1-1 !-u
I "'--1= I Bedroom
Master U- L
bedroom Bedroom
p [
i Living room

I YHan.
I Fig.35 Anton Brenner

Housing at the Vienna Werkbundsiedlung, 1932.

IIluS.27 Anton Brenner

House at the Vienna Werkbundsiedlung, 1932.

Fig.36 Ludwig Hilberseimer Growing House (Type G), 1930-1.

were that the living room mainly faced the road, while a store and bathroom unnecessarily enjoyed a view of the courtyard, and there was cross circulation of the living room. Hilberseimer's designs were similar, except that they had cellars as was traditional in German houses. One was otherwise identical to Gohl's design, while the other had an extra bedroom next to the living room (fig.34 and illus.zo),

Sharing Meyer's concern for orientation and privacy, Hilberseimer wrote of this design:

' ... this arrangement allows a maximum insolation. The living room faces east and west, while the bedrooms face south ... through the L shaped plan a particularly serious problem of low-rise housing is solved. In spite of the proximity of the other houses the garden is entirely private' .129

Anton Brenner's two L-shaped courtyard houses in Vienna were among the first to be huilt.l30 He grouped the bathroom, entrance lobby and kitchen in the angle of the L, so that the living and bedrooms could face the courtyard (fig.jy). Brenner intended the courtyard to be used for 'outdoor recreation, protected from the view of strangers, for exercise, sunbathing and paddling', and wrote that it was 'furnished with flower beds, pergola and a paddling pool ... and represents a separate living room in the open air' (illus.27).l31 It I can be seen from this description of the pergola house, as it was known, that the architect did not have any idea of ancient Mediterranean houses in mind. Even the Bauwelt reporter who felt that the courtyard was 'almost Pompeiian', had to admit that this was 'a new type: the cheap one-storey terrace house with a private courtyard' .132

While Meyer should be credited with developing the L-shaped house from the single aspect house, it was Hilberseimer who created the L-shaped house which is being built all over northwest Europe today. He improved the interior design and the site layout. He worked out the densities at which courtyard housing might be built. Through his teaching at the Bauhaus and his numerous articles he ensured that the courtyard house idea survived and spread.

Hilberseimer's first step in improving the interior design of the L-shaped house was taken in I930 in his Growing House (also called Type G) (fig.36).133 This was not a true courtyard house as the rooms looked outwards, and there was no private outdoor space. The plan was notable in two respects. First, the day and night activities were to take place in the two separate wings of the house. With the entrance at their juncture, the circulation pattern was much more compact than in earlier plans. This separation also allowed each wing to be given an appropriate orientation, with the bedrooms getting the sun in the morning, and the living room in the evening. Marcel Breuer's binuclear houses of the I940S were not dissimilar (see chapter II). Second, Hilberseimer showed that this kind of single-storey house could easily be built incrementally. By putting the bath-


room, kitchen and entrance foyer all in one wing, the other wing could be built later.

In his Type E house, which was published the following year, Hilberseimer applied the same binuclear and expansibility concepts to a true courtyard house (figs.37 and 38 and illus.28).134 This is the classical model of the L-shaped courtyard house, which has hardly been improved upon since that time. Again the bedrooms were all in one wing and the living room was in the other, with south and west orientations respectively. Kitchen, bathroom and entrance lobby were in the corner of the L. The basic core of the house was more or less a single aspect courtyard house, which 'can be enlarged little by little according to the space needs of the family, and be built of standardized parts'. The defects of this design were the large floor area devoted to circulation and the large area of exposed wall. The bathroom and kitchen were grouped together for economy of plumbing, but this meant a separation of the bathroom from the bedrooms. Few later designs have, however, improved upon this first binuclear L-shaped courtyard house design.

There was widespread interest in the expansibility of low-cost housing in the early 'thirties due to the economic conditions of the Depression. Some advocated giving the unemployed and homeless man a minimum shelter with the basic services on an allotment where he could grow subsistence crops.135 The house might be expanded when he could afford it. This approach is not unlike some suggested more recently to alleviate urban housing problems in developing countries.P" That the courtyard house does indeed lend itself to progressive development is continually being shown in many parts of the third world. Typically one or two rooms are first built at the front of the plot, and others are added behind later, creating a courtyard.

There were two competitions for the growing house at this time, one in Vienna in 1931 and the other in Berlin in 1932.137 Both were won with entries of single-storey houses that expanded into L-shaped courtyard houses. The first, by a group of Viennese architects, was very like Hilberseimer's Type E house. According to Moderne Bauformen, 'completion (of growth) all takes place on the ground floor in the shape of an L, which adds an enclosed open air room'.13B Many years later, in 1953, the same idea won another competition for Megelvang and jern Utzon (see chapter III).102 Here the core of the house was a small L, and both wings expanded. More recently in 1971 Cleeve Barr, Managing Director of the National Building Agency, proposed building expansible houses very similar to the Type E house for young married couples.P"

Although many architects have advocated the expansible house since the Depression, the pattern has remained for families to move to a bigger house rather than enlarge the one they already occupy. But the qualities which make the courtyard house easy to expand, also allow the production of a range of house sizes out of standard parts. The Italians,




I Bath kC:t

I room

I 4 - - - Living room Bedroom

i I

L____ -"F=~-I<====:Io:==:I




J: J

L_...J J


i: I

J I 2 I








L. .J

Fig.37 Ludwig Hilberseimer

L-House Type E, 1931; four stages of expansion.

_ room K':l
Living room
! Double
I bedroom
! Double

1 bedroom
bedroom Fig.38 Ludwig Hilberseimer L-House Type E, 1931.

IIlus.28 Ludwig Hilberseimer L-House Type E, 1931.

Fig.39 Diotallevi, Marescotti and Pagano

Housing for a horizontal city, 1940.


1111 1111 1111 1111 1111 1111 1111

III L L_L __ -l



:: L r -:-+

I L L_J ..J



L L _ _J ...I

Living room ~~l
1---, +
I ~I


! Illus.zo Adalberto Libera

Housing at Tuscolano in Rome, 1952.

f Living room Bedroom
~--I--I I
I 1 B~"oo~1 M'
I! ~
I _, Bedroom I
H Master bedroom
I Fig.40 Adalberto Libera

Housing at Tuscolano in Rome, 1952.

Illus.jo Adalberto Libera

Housing at Tuscolano in Rome, 1952.

Diotallevi, Marescotti and Pagano, demonstrated this in 1940 with their section of a horizontal city for 7-8000 people.v-? Their five different house sizes all had the same core of kitchen, bathroom and entrance lobby (fig.jo). Another Italian, Adalberto Libera, used this idea in the first large scheme of courtyard housing to be built in Europe.l+l This consisted of 126 houses constructed in 1952 at Tuscalano in Rome (illus.zc). The three house sizes are the same except that the bedroom wing has one, two or three bedrooms. By reversing the positions of the bathroom and entrance lobby, access could be through the courtyard (fig.ao and illus.jo ).142

Hilberseimer designed four basic variants of the L-shaped courtyard house. His 1929 house, reworked as Type C (illus.31),133 and the classic Type E have been described above. In his six-person house (1931)143 and Type D (1932), the bedrooms faced away from the courtyard.l+t Type D was interesting in that it had the outside corner of the L indented, creating a small entry courtyard - a feature of several recent designs.

Like most European administrations of this period, those in Germany were preoccupied with the problem of unhealthy tenement slums, and were convinced that they should be replaced by low-rise housing. Several prominent architects opposed this view, and advocated instead high-rise housing. Opinion became polarized on the issue. As Gropius described it, 'the views as to the ideal type of dwelling clash in vehement conflict with each other'.145 Today it is difficult to understand how feelings could run so high on this topic unless one sees it in the German political context of extreme partisanship on every issue. The period was one of turmoil which lead to the collapse ofthe Weimar Republic early in 1932. There were some indications that high-rise housing was associated with socialism. It is instructive to recount some of the arguments of this controversy where they attack and defend low-rise housing, because they touch upon several of the drawbacks and advantages of courtyard housing.

In 1929 a German government directive to the housing industry stated that the aim should be onestorey dwellings with gardens.l+" It also laid down that no apartment building should be more than four storeys high. Opposition to this official line found a platform at the Congres International d' Architecture Moderne (ClAM). At the 1930 congress in Brussels, Sigfried Giedion objected that 'due to the English garden city movement, the authorities regard lowrise housing as a panacea for the ills of the city' .147 Walter Gropius was the chief proponent of high-rise housing. At the 1929 and 1930 congresses, and in no less than six articles, he criticized low-rise housing on grounds some of which were sound, some less so. He claimed that the high-rise apartment was somehow more suitable for the modern urban family:

'Modern industrial workers come from the land, bringing their primitive life styles with them, instead of adjusting to their new lives'.148


Gropius claimed that high-rise living could change the life style of its inhabitants and that it promoted public spirit.l+" According to Hilberseimer, the advocates of high-rise housing believed that the way of life in the house on the ground was too primitive.l43 Gropius maintained that low-rise housing could not be let, and that the great mass of mobile workers were better suited by the rented flat. He accused 'the one-sided defenders of low-rise housing' of claiming 'that man's natural instinct keeps him on the ground'.149

Gropius's more objective criticisms were about density, construction costs and housekeeping. Assuming that low-rise housing could be built only at low densities, he warned it 'would mean the dissolution and denial of the city' .149 Like many others since, he cited Los Angeles as an example of a city where the people had to spend a great part of the day travelling. Low densities meant that the citizen 'loses free time in overcrowded public transport with the accompanying danger of infection, children have further to go to school, and it is more difficult to shop'.146

Gropius also assumed that it would cost more: 'to give the masses low-rise housing would require an economic Utopia'.149 Finally he claimed that the poorer family lacked the time to keep a house and garden in good shape and that 'the economic and spiritual freedom of the woman requires that the family should be relieved of housework' .148 This was especially vital in view of 'the increasingly difficult problem with domestic servants' .145 The 1930 congress accepted these views by an overwhelming majority.

Hilberseimer answered these cnncisms III the course of five articles published in the years 1929-32. He took a more moderate position than Gropius. Of the controversy in general he wrote: 'it is wrong to put this as an either/or question. The goal must be to give everyone his choice of home'.129 All his projects included a mix of high- and low-rise housing, for he held that 'low-rise housing with gardens is the most suitable type for families with children, while for childless couples and single people highrise housing with communal facilities where possible is the best type of housing' .133 This has since been found to match people's actual preferences. Hilberseimer also recommended mixed development for aesthetic reasons. He did not accept that housekeeping was more trouble in the house than in the flat.150 There was no difference if the house was all on one level.

Hilberseimer worked with Hugo Haring in the State Research Institute on the economics of the single-storey house.t+i He claimed to have found that it could be as cheap as any other type if cellars were omitted and construction simplified:

'What Ford did with car manufacture can also be done for house construction, especially for the single storey house, which is a particularly suitable object for industrialized production' .151


IlluS.31 Ludwig Hilberseimer L-shaped terrace house Type C, 193I.



------ l

Fig.41 Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Group of Court houses, 1938.

iw.c.CI I
Uf 1111 III JKitchen I

Dining room
+ +
Living room


~hrllom Bedroom
Fig.42 Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Row House, 193I.

The validity of this idea has been proved by the prefabs produced in Britain after the Second World War, and American 'mobile homes' which constituted one third of all new housing in the United States completed in 1971.152

Some experience of building costs of courtyard housing was gained in this period. Uli Seeck built 16 L-shaped houses in Munich in 1932 (see chapter III) and claimed that the construction costs were on the whole no higher than for houses of more than one storey.l'" Of the prize-winning entry to the Vienna 'growing house' competition, Der Baumeister commented that 'even if the single-storey nature of the building does not increase building costs steeply, heating costs will be extremely high'.l53 This prediction has been proved well founded in recent projects.

Hilberseimer also suggested that overall costs could be reduced by having little penetration of roads in courtyard housing schemes. In his 1929 layout he strung the dwellings along the roadside like terrace housing. But from 1930 onwards he laid out his courtyard houses with footpath access, a pattern which has since become standard practice in courtyard housing schemes. Using this kind of layout, Hilberseimer demonstrated that courtyard housing could be built to quite high densities. Laying out Type E houses in a terraced pattern with footpath access, he arrived at a density of 324 persons per hectare (ppha) or 131 persons per acre (ppa).143 This is strictly a net figure as the scheme included no public open space, parking or garages. This layout meant building over fifty per cent of the ground. Hilberseimer compared this scheme with one of ten-storey slab blocks of flats laid out in parallel rows. Like Gropius he used a standard shadow angle to determine the spacing of the blocks, and of the courtyard houses. He showed that they both had the same density if one used the same shadow angle. This is different from the findings of Gropius, who compared high-rise housing with two-storey terraces laid out in parallel rows.l54 In fact courtyard housing schemes built since the war have been at 100-150 ppha. But they have been seen as truly urban and not at all the cause of 'the dissolution of the city'.

This chapter on developments in the Weimar Republic cannot be concluded without mentioning the work of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Because his work has been so well publicized, his early courtyard houses have been better known than those of Haring, Meyer and Hilberseimer. For this reason several writers have wrongly credited Mies with the development of the modern courtyard house. In fact, he did not help to formulate the original plans, nor did he have much influence on later designs. His contribution was merely to open up the courtyard house and make indoor and outdoor spaces flow together. He gave the courtyard more enclosure and connected the house and the courtyard more completely than in other German designs. Schindler had done this previously in the United States (see

chapter II). Mies made the house type elegant and spacious enough to appeal to the rich.

Strictly speaking, very few of Mies's designs were courtyard houses, but rather pavilions. Most of them were descended from his Brick Country House (1923), a glass pavilion with walls extending outwards into the open landscape.t= The Barcelona Pavilion (1929) and the model house at the Berlin Building Exhibition (1934) had small courtyards, but were oriented predominantly outwards. Some other houses of this period can best be described as pavilions set within walled compounds. These would include the House with Three Courtyards, House with a Garage (both 1934), and the Group of Court houses (1938) (fig.ar),

The Row House was Mies's first true courtyard house. He designed it in 1931, the second year that he was director at the Bauhaus, where he must have seen the courtyard houses of Hilberseimer and his students. In the Row House, Mies took Hilberseimer's binuclear L-shaped plan, eliminated almost all the internal walls and doubled the floor area (fig.az), As in all the houses mentioned, the need for internal privacy was obviated by designing for a childless couple. The next year Mies built the L-shaped Lemke House in Berlin.l-" It is similar in layout to the mirror image of the Row House, and is on the same spacious scale. There is little effect of spatial flow, however, with the interior compartmentalized and smaller windows (fig.aj and illus. 32).

Bauhaus students whose work reflects Mies's influence include Eduard Ludwig, whose simple One-storey house with a courtyard (1932-3) is a Miesian version of the single aspect house, placed perpendicular to the road (fig.44 and illUS.I).157 Philip Johnson may have seen this design while visiting the Bauhaus, for the house he built for himself in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1942-3 was remarkably similar (fig.45 and illus.33).51 Ludwig later built three L-shaped courtyard houses at the 1957 Interbau Exhibition in Berlin158 and a small single-aspect house at the Brussels World Exhibition in 1958.159

From 1938 Mies and Hilberseimer taught at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, where students were still producing courtyard houses in the Miesian manner in the late 1960s. One lIT graduate, Yan Chun Wong, built eight Miesian houses in 1961 (illus.34).l60 This was a rare case where the courtyard form was used partly for security reasons, as the scheme was in a rough ghetto of Chicago. Mies and Hilberseimer considered including courtyard housing in Lafayette Park in Detroit.l''! The house plans were undistinguished but the grouping of different house types into repeatable clusters was novel at the time (fig.ati). But Mies had little influence on low-rise housing in Europe or the United States. The type of courtyard house which is being built most in northern Europe today is the small L-shaped house developed by Haring, Meyer and Hilberseimer in the years 1928 to 1931.


..... / .~.

'- :".t:.<~,-::r.,_; r , f.:;"':'.

~_.::..~i ...... ''':: •. ' :... "" ~

~~.~-::~#+.,.g. .,..!.J. L~.-.~ .

~"::: .. ~~ ~.~~, -::.'.!~D".;-~<.,~:.-:~~'!t:~~~

IIlus.32 Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Lemke House at Weissensee in Berlin, I932.

I I Garage
I ~
1J{1- !_I_I_I Living room ~ Bedroom I
w.e·1 Hall I I"-
iUlD I--
BOder Kitchen I mmg room Bath [
I room Fig.44 Eduard Ludwig ~. One-storey house with a courtyard, I932-3. ~

Illus.jg Philip Johnson

Johnson House in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I942-3·


l- I. __ L _1 I -I
SIX car spaces

Fig.46 Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Ludwig


Court Houses for Detroit in Michigan, I957.

, , Kitchen !
Living room llL
I I~
rr ---


__ JU~

I-- I
• I-- Bedroom ~
I-- I
I-- I Fig.43 Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Lemke House at Weissensee in Berlin, I932.

Car parking
----I c::: ~-J r-
l___f ~ -h
Bedroom Kitchen Living room
Dining room L __ I
-- -- -- I-. 1-. -- - .- ~ - - 1-- -_ -- -- -+- -- Fig.45 Philip Johnson

Johnson House, Cambridge, Massachusetts, I942-3.

IIlus.34 Yan Chun Wong Courtyard house in Chicago, I961.

V Courtyard housing in post-war Britain


~r i i~

S·· .~ L·· ~I ~

irnng room 1- ivmg room I _

..... -_ ....... - ~.--.--.-~'"""":'" ir- _I

Bathroom I I J_

IAnlTi ! : [1 j

Bedroom UI '-....

I _'11--. +-+--

W--Be-dro-om-':"'IU11: ~

~_~i I:---+-+---I--t-+-t--t--

Bedroom ~ J

~ I--~-

r 1bx::::::J_N_u_rse_ry_.....II..J

Maid's room

1 1 i

i i 1

I:L... - _j __

Boiler room


WincBox room

R_._._._. ..

Fig.47 Antony Chitty and Tecton

House for David Lloyd George at Churt in Surrey, 1935.

Illus.j ; Antony Chitty and Tecton

House for David Lloyd George at Churt in Surrey, 1935.

Since the war courtyard housing has been springing up all over northwest Europe, especially in Germany and Scandinavia where it was developed before the war, and also in Britain. Much of this recent work has merely been a realization of pre-war designs. But this in itself has entailed making new layouts, gaining experience of construction costs and finding out how well courtyard housing suits the householder's needs. There have been some interesting designs of one-and-a-half and two-storey courtyard houses, and multistorey complexes. This chapter will deal mostly with courtyard housing in Britain, which has been fairly typical of that elsewhere in Europe. Building started later in Britain and the private sector has been less involved than on the continent.

Besides the few Arts and Crafts atrium houses mentioned in chapter II, very few courtyard houses were projected or built before the war. The firm of Tecton, which was one of the pioneers of the modern movement in Britain, built two houses related to the German L-shaped courtyard house. Berthold Lubetkin, the founder of Tecton, designed a bungalow for himself at Whipsnade with an outward looking Lshaped plan (1935).162 The same year another member of Tecton, Antony Chitty, built a U'-shaped courtyard house for David Lloyd George on his estate at Churt (fig.47 and illus.35).l63 It had a few features of the atrium house type, such as the square paved area with a central pool, and the suggestion of an arcade.l'" Another V -shaped courtyard house was exhibited at the 1938 Woman's Fair at Olympia in London, which was designed by Clive Entwistle in collaboration with Le Corbusier (fig. 48 and illus·36).l65

Much more influential than these three examples were the publications of Walter Segal. They effectively transferred most of the pre-war German housing design concepts to post-war Britain, including single aspect and L-shaped courtyard housing. Segal had been active in Germany in the 1930s. His commissions in that period had included an Lshaped binuclear courtyard house with a studio in Berlin (1931)166 and another for a German client on Majorca (1934).167 (The latter may explain why Segal coined the word 'patio' in his British publications.)


Living room


Fig.48 Clive Entwistle in collaboration with Le Corbusier

Week-end cottage exhibited at the Woman's Fair in London, 1938.

Illus.je Clive Entwistle in collaboration with Le Corbusier Week-end cottage exhibited at the Woman's Fair in London, 1938.


~ I I
. . I 'tt±±±ti ~
round Living room t-----i
Dining room

J- n"
!_ I
First -~ t----~
floor Master
bedroom Bedroom Bedroom

I Fig.49 Walter Segal

Patio house Type 17a, 1943.

In 1943 he wrote an article in The Architect and Building News,168 which dealt very fully with twostorey single aspect courtyard houses. Segal's book Home and Environment,169 which was first published in 1948, incorporated the 1943 article and also included an L-shaped courtyard house and a singleaspect house with a 'lateral garden' in a staggered layout like Hilding Ekelund's 1932 project.

The twelve variant plans from 1943 all had onestorey connecting wings, like Hannes Meyer's first design for the teachers' houses at Bernau, so their ground floor plans are L-shaped (fig.ac), The L-shaped bungalow was perhaps more closely related to these single-aspect houses than the German L-shaped houses (fig. 50 and illus.j r). Segal suggested a new layout, where the interior of the blocks of houses were opened up to create a common green (fig.yr), He credited Le Corbusier's Immeuble Villas (1925) for suggesting this layout. The densities were 250 ppha for two-storey singleaspect houses and 138 ppha for single-storey Lshaped houses.

Few later British designs followed Segal's examples closely, but his treatment of the courtyard house type was so full and Home and Environment was so widely read, that he surely stimulated the new interest in courtyard housing in Britain. Density was a major concern of the book, and of later designs of one-and-a-half and two-storey types. Chamberlin, Powell and Bon's neat split level courtyard with footpath access (1952) gave a high density, but the courtyard would have been overshadowed by the one-and-a-half storey bedroom wing (fig.52),1?o One of the first courtyard housing schemes to be built in Britain included split level houses. They were designed by Frank Perry in 1956 for the competition for housing at Leith Fort in Edinburgh.F! He grouped different house types into clusters which when repeated gave the scheme an interesting appearance that is often lacking in courtyard housing (fig. 53). Chamberlin, Powell and Bon used a repeata ble cluster of one- and two-storey courtyard houses in their Living Suburb project of 1958, which had a density of 221 ppha.F" It was the same year that Mies van der Rohe and Hilberseimer included similar composite clusters in their Detroit scheme (see chapter IV).l6I

Some two-storey houses which were related to Segal's plans were designed in 1960 at the War Office under Roger Walters, who had previously worked as an assistant to Segal.F'' These 170 houses at Aldershot had their two-storey wings parallel to the access way, rather than perpendicular to it (fig. 54 and illus.j S). The density, including 128 maisonettes and much open space, was 104 ppha (see table I for a summary of densities per hectare and acre). A house very similar to Ekelund's two-storey single aspect house was designed at Edinburgh University Architectural Research Unit for Kildrum in Cumbernauld (1966),1?~ Segal's ideas of a common green on one side of the house was taken up in this project of ninety houses. (A more surprising location

I -~1 I ~:;U

Master I

bedroom : Bad:.: r

i I ~ I

~ Living room



Bedroom ~




Fig.50 Walter Segal L-shaped bungalow, 1947.

Illus.j r Walter Segal L-shaped bungalow, 1947.

Fig.51 Walter Segal

Layout ofL-shaped bungalows, 1947.

Master bedroom




First 1I00r

Fig.52 Chamberlin, Powell and Bon Urban high-density housing, 1952.

Fig.53 Frank Perry Housing at Leith Fort in Edinburgh, 1956.


F fI

UDining ~~~~;1.
und Store Living room
1 <

oor Bedroom

Bedroom Gro flo

Fig.54 A. W. Butler of the War Office Architect's Department

Patio houses at Talavera Lines in Aldershot, 1960.

.";'r:-~ Illus.yS A. W. Butler of the War Office Architect's Department

Patio houses at Talavera Lines, Aldershot, 1960.

Illus.jo Michael Neylan

Housing at Bishopsfield in Harlow, 1960.


Illus.ao Lambeth Borough Architect's Department Housing at Alexandra Drive, 1967.

11-1 Gc( 1
Car-parking Section

l II
• ~~~Bd
Kitchen i Dining area
_ e room
I 16=

Living room i Master
oo-L bedroom
Second-floor plan I I
I __ l ,----

~ Dining area I,......,
1 Bedroom
I Living room 1
I Kitchen


f.==::::::;==:l-il Bedroom

Living room

11--I-----j-+-.f;1 Master

I f--I--I--~ I bedroom

First-floor plan

Fig.55 Colin John Collins

Housing at Gresham Road in Brentwood, Essex, 1967.

for the revival of the two-storey single aspect house was Tashkent in Uzbekhistan in 1969.)175

Higher densities and more interesting forms have been achieved by building courtyard houses in multistorey complexes. Michael Neylan crowned Bishopsfield in Harlow (1960) with four-storey blocks, comprised of small U-shaped houses on top, two-storey single-aspect houses in the middle and one-storey single-aspect houses at ground level (illus.39)_l76 A scheme of 230 houses in Rotherham (1967) included L-shaped houses in an escalier arrangement, which gave these houses a view as well as privacy.I?? At Alexander Drive in Lambeth small flats were placed over L-shaped units to give the high density of 207 ppha, and a more urban atmosphere (illus.40)_l78 The London Borough of Lambeth is building courtyard houses extensively on small urban sites and finds them popular with tenants. The only project to approach Hilberseimer's density of 324 ppha was Colin John Collin's at Brentwood.F? Designed for a tight infill site, it reached 311 ppha with housing on two levels and garages below (fig.yy),

Some American ideas have found expression in Europe. Egon Eiermann built a multipatio house in Berlin Grunewald in 1939.156 Breuer's binuclear plan could be seen in Hans Scharoun's Heligoland housing (1952),180 and in a holiday house near Cowes on the Isle of Wight by Stirling and Gowan (1958).181 The linear patio house idea has been used by Peter Phippen at Hatfield (1963) and Crawley (1967) (see chapter II).

Most of the courtyard housing built in Britain, however, has been L-shaped. Many designs have been inferior to those developed in the Weimar Republic. It is common to find courtyard houses given a northern orientation, even by such reputable offices as the National Building Agency182 and Cumbernauld Development Corporation.Is'' This shows a lack of understanding of the house-type, as it was created precisely to ensure good insolation. In larger houses corridors often take up too much space, and there is cross circulation of the living room. Another common error is to use the courtyard form for small houses, which results in small, overshadowed yards and a claustrophobic atmosphere in the house.

The relationship between entrance, kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms has rarely been perfected. The floor plan used by Lambeth Borough has the bathroom with the bedrooms and not too far from the kitchen to influence plumbing costs (fig. 56 and illus.41).184 The interior arrangement of Roland Rainer's houses in Austria satisfied all the criteria. The bathroom is next to the kitchen allowing it to be used as the laundry. The bathroom is also near the entrance, and yet private to the bedroom wing of the house (fig.57).l85

By indenting the external corner of the L-shaped house, a small entrance courtyard may be created. Hilberseimer did this in his Type D house in 1932, and it has been developed in several recent designs.

- Store J)J~~~n:
__ =r=: -D
Master: I Dining
bedroom B"'room! Bedroom .g_kilchen
I _ I

Living room

bedroom Fig.56 Lambeth Borough Architect's Department Courtyard housing, 1965.

Illus.ar Lambeth Borough Architect's Department Courtyard housing, 1965.




Dining room ~+-~~~~-4-11

Living room - . .....,_

~+-+-+-+-+-+-+-I I

I-+-+--+--+--+-+--+_.i Porch Store


Fig.57 Roland Rainer

Housing at Puchenau in Austria, 1970.

It gives more privacy to the front door and any rooms that may face outwards. When it is made into a full courtyard, the house may become Z-shaped rather than L-shaped, as in Ryder and Yates' scheme at Kenton Barr in Newcastle upon Tyne (1966).186 The two courtyards of Latty and Tucker's houses at Frome are analogous to front and back gardens (fig. 58).187

The most common layout of courtyard housing has been a dense rectangular one with a low penetration of roads and small public open spaces. With few windows facing the pedestrian paths, a very quiet, low-keyed public environment is created, which is quite different from that of the typical street. It has been called 'an alien casbah effect'.188 In some schemes the footpaths have been roofed over, unifying the whole project and reducing the feeling of being shut out from the private domain of the houses (illus.az).

It has been said that courtyard houses 'should never be used in large areas because of the resultant monotony' .188 This was a defect of the 152 houses at Clarkhill in Harlow.P? The architects of this scheme thought that 'strict clarity of organization is needed to avoid degenerating into a maze'.190 But it should be possible to achieve clarity without monotony and complexity without confusion. A sloping site and some taller buildings help to give a sense of orientation, as in Neylan's neighbouring scheme (illus.ag), Albertslund in Denmark (1963), probably the largest project built so far, with 986 L-shaped units, was both comprehensible and interesting.P! It had a well articulated system of access roads, paths and public open spaces (fig.59 and illus.aa). The density ofthis scheme was 134 ppha. The courtyard housing at Gela New Town in Sicily (1962) was less regimented with its groups of houses around paved squares, between which green spaces ran down to the sea shore (illus.45).192 Utzon's housing at Helsingfors and Fredensborg formed an undulating wall between the road and the common open space.1°3

Most of these schemes had medium densities of about twenty-seven houses per hectare (see table I). About a quarter of all new public housing193 and half of the housing built for sale194 in Britain are at or below this density, so it would be possible to build courtyard housing very widely without reducing densities or increasing land costs per house. It has often been said that the construction costs of courtyard housing is higher than that of other lowrise housing, due to larger wall and roof surfaces per unit volume, and longer service runs and a greater length of foundations.w-- 196 There is not much information to show how true this may be. Table 2 compares the tender prices of six courtyard housing schemes with those of low-rise housing built for local authorities in the same year. The results are inconclusive, ranging all the way from thirty-two per cent under the average price to forty-three per cent over it. This uncertainty about construction costs may be one factor which is


.. Bce=dr=oo=m ... B.ed=ro=o~m"_j __ CoLu_nL'_l~_~

Fig.58 Latty and Tucker

Housing at Frome in Somerset, 1962.

Illus.az Roland Rainer

Courtyard housing at Puchenau in Austria, 1970.

IlluS.43 Michael Neylan

Housing at Bishopsfield in Harlow, 1960.

Fig.59 Ole Norgaard

Courtyard housing at Albertslund in Denmark, 1963.

IlluS.44 Ole Norgaard

Courtyard housing at Albertslund in Denmark, 1963.

Illus.ay Edoardo Gellner

Courtyard housing in Gela New Town in Sicily, 1962.

deterring private house builders from constructing courtyard housing. Buyers also tend to be conservative, for they are not only interested in satisfying their own needs, but also in getting a good resale price for the house later on.

All the schemes priced in table 2 were built in rationalized traditional construction. Prefabrication of courtyard housing, suggested first by Haring, has been tried out many times. Timber systems were used in Sweden by Erik Friberger in 1949197 and Stig Ancker in 1952.198 The 986 houses at Albertslund and 152 at Clarkhill were built with concrete panels. Single-storey houses made in one or two units in the factory (,mobile homes') constituted thirty per cent of housing production in the United States in 1971, but they are rarely if ever laid out to form courtyards.t= There are echoes of the Lshaped courtyard house in a scheme using two units per house by Paul Rudolph in New Haven (1970) (illuq6).199

Because the courtyard house has a large external surface area for its volume, heat losses tend to be greater than from more compact low-rise housing. This was one of many points brought out in the surveys of the occupants of two schemes in Scotland at Prestonpans-v" and Dundee.w- These were carried out by the staff of Edinburgh University Architectural Research Unit (ARU). The forty-five houses at Prestonpans were also designed by ARU.202 The design team first toured several lowrise housing schemes on the continent. The house plans were derived from Libera's houses in Rome, and like them allowed alternative entry through the courtyard or directly into the house (fig.eo). From Eske Christensen's 'Twig Housing' in Copenhagen (1957) they took the idea of the covered way (illus.ay), The regular layout along vennels with occasional small open spaces was typical of recent European projects (fig.er), and gave a density of twenty-six houses per hectare. The forty-seven houses in the Ardler Development in Dundee designed by Baxter, Clark and Paul were also Lshaped but had small entry courts (fig.cz) and a more open layout. The density was twenty-nine houses per hectare. Both schemes were built for local authorities.

The reports on the occupant surveys of these two schemes helped fill a gap in our knowledge of courtyard housing, and answered questions first raised in the 1930S as to its suitability for the modern family. The following is not a full summary of the reports, but a selection of their most important findings. The tenants came from conventional one- and two-storey houses, but, rather surprisingly, made few general comments on their new homes. This indicates that they found it easy to adjust to this new type of house. Those who came from two-storey houses at first appreciated living on one level more than anything else. But after one year, it was the privacy they liked most of all. They wanted direct access to the courtyards from outside, and found that different uses of the courtyard conflicted, such as clothes


Illus.46 Paul Rudolph

Housing in two prefabricated units at Oriental Masonic Gardens in New Haven, 1970.

Dining ki[c~~
Bedroom Living area
1 _lh~
I I Hall 1
I Bedroom
I Fig.60 Edinburgh University, Architectural Research Unit

Housing at Prestonpans in East Lothian, 1961.

Illus.aj Edinburgh Architectural Research Unit Courtyard housing at Prestonpans in East Lothian, 1961.


drying and children playing. This suggests a second courtyard would be useful. The Dundee tenants liked the layout of the scheme because children were safe from vehicles, but they disliked the alleys which they called the maze. Some householders at Prestonpans would have liked to be able to keep an eye on their cars from the house. They preferred the covered ways to those without roofs; and they disliked the appearance of the scheme, but this had little effect on their general level of satisfaction.

The most notable finding in these surveys was that housebound people did not like living in courtyard houses. They felt lonely and cut off from the outside world. Therefore this type of house should be regarded as unsuitable for the old and infirm, who cannot get out often. All courtyard houses should have some outward views. Housewives confined to the home by children may also feel excessively secluded. This was confirmed by another survey, which was carried out by John and Janet Madge, of the occupants of the courtyard houses in Aldershot.203

Scotland's bad housing conditions and tradition of living in fiats may have predisposed the tenants at Prestonpans and Dundee to like courtyard houses more than their English counterparts would have done. It is not known how people in different regions and social classes react to courtyard housing. One related topic which has been investigated more fully is the differences in attitudes to privacy in general between the British working and middle classes. John Madge held that privacy was equally important to both classes,204 while Margaret Willis found some differences in the definitions of privacy given by the two groups.w- On the whole, working-class people emphasized privacy from neighbours, while middleclass householders spoke more of privacy from the general public and other members of their families. (This difference may be merely because the middleclass families already enjoyed more privacy from their neighbours.) The courtyard house therefore suits both social classes well as it gives privacy both from neighbours and the general public, and can give as much internal privacy as any other house type. But these conclusions may not hold for other societies. There is some evidence, for instance, that Americans are much less interested in privacy.206 However, as the pace of modern life becomes more hectic everywhere, the peace and seclusion of the courtyard house will no doubt recommend this type of dwelling more and more.

__ J6 b II

Fig.61 Edinburgh University Architectural Research Unit Housing at Prestonpans in East Lothian, 1961.

ltchel /Bin

Living Dining I I -r
I if I
I I I Hallj~p-9
I I I 1. ___
Gar en court
I I Bedroom
I I Fig.62 Baxter, Clark and Paul Two-person House in the Ardler ' Development in Dundee, 1963.


Frank Dixon Associates

Housing at Thornaby-on- Tees, 1963.


VI Summary of design considerations

This history of the modern courtyard house in northern Europe and the United States is intended to bring out the potentialities and the problems of this type of house. Its restful, introspective character suits most families but not housebound people, who feel too cut off from the outside world. While the prominent aspect of the house should be onto its courtyard or courtyards, there should also be some outward views. In the single-storey house it is possible to achieve an excellent arrangement of rooms in relation to each other, and to give all the living and bedrooms a southerly orientation. Internal rooms can be lit and ventilated from above. In designing the larger courtyard house, care should be taken to keep the circulation spaces compact, and to avoid cross circulation of the living rooms. In the small courtyard house there is a danger of the courtyard being undersized. This is also a problem when more than one courtyard is included in the medium sized house. When it is possible to have two or more courtyards, outdoor functions can be divided between them, and the different parts of the house can be made more private from each other.

The single-storey courtyard house lends itself to expansion, and it is easy to build a range of house sizes with a standard core of kitchen, bathroom and entrance lobby. Using traditional construction methods, this house type costs about the same as other medium-density housing. The courtyard house could be manufactured in one or two elements, as 'mobile homes' are in the United States. Because courtyard houses have a large area of external wall and roof in relation to their volume, heat losses tend to be high. They should be laid out so that party walls can be shared, and special attention should be given to heat insulation.

The chief asset of this type of house is its courtyard. It is private, quiet, sunny, sheltered from the wind and safe from intruders. In mixed developments, buildings of two or more storeys should not be allowed to overlook or overshadow the courtyards. The privacy of the courtyard allows the householder to be as noisy or untidy as he likes without disturbing his neighbours or obtruding on the public. Less noise will travel between courtyards if they are not directly adjacent to one another, but

this arrangement is in conflict with the need to share party walls. For sites next to main roads, the courtyard house offers good protection from the noise and visual disturbance of the traffic.196 The single-storey project ensures good insolation and little wind turbulence, creating an excellent microclimate in the courtyards which benefits plants as well as people. The courtyard is an especially safe place for children to play.

Because of the wide frontage of courtyard houses it is more economical to lay them out with only footpath access, rather than give road access to each dwelling. The quality of the public footpaths is greatly improved ifthey are roofed over. The pattern of alleys should be interesting, but not so complex as to become a maze. Some taller elements in a project help to give the pedestrian a sense of direction. Medium density schemes with a rectangular pattern of paths and small public open spaces have a quiet but urban atmosphere. Single-storey projects with medium densities up to 150 or 175 ppha or thirty to thirty-five hpha are being built on sites in inner as well as outer suburbs, while some recent multistorey designs, with densities as high as 3 I 0 ppha, show that courtyard houses could also be built in central areas of the city. In the future we can expect to see a wider, and hopefully more skilful, use of the existing one-storey types of courtyard house. Doubtless, new forms of courtyard housing will also be developed, based on the work and experience which has been described in this paper.

Table I
Densities of some recent courtyard housing schemes
Bedspaces ppha- ppa- hpha" hpa-
1 2 3 4 5 6 Total
Aldershot, Hampshire> 0 0 0 34 136 0 170 104 42 25'9 10'5
Prestonpans, E. Lothian 0 3 0 21 22 0 46 III 45 25'7 lOA
Ardler, Dundee 0 5 2 24 16 0 47 II9 48 29'2 II·8
The Ryde, Hatfield 0 0 8 0 10 10 28 123 50 24'7 10'0
Albertslund, Denmark 0 0 0 na na 0 986 134 54 33'4 13'9
Thornaby-on-Tees, Yorks" 0 0 0 78 0 II6 194 161 65 41'3 16·6
The Lanes, Rotherham? 0 52 0 160 18 0 230 169 68 47'0 19'5
Kenton Bar, Newcastle 0 0 0 0 na na 48 173 70 na na
Bishopsfield, Harlowf 0 na na na na na 267 175 71 49A 20'0
Alexander Drive, Lambeth? 8 8 0 3 8 8 35 207 84 43'5 17.6
Brentwood, Essex-" 0 30 0 20 0 0 50 3II 126 128'0 52'0 NOTES

I persons per hectare 2 persons per acre

3 houses per hectare 4 houses per acre

5 All dwellings are two storeys. Density figures include I28 maisonettes in four-storey blocks.

6 Six bedspace units are two storeys. Density figures include 90 two-storey semi-detached houses.

7 Of the four bedspace units, !I5 are in two, three and four-storey blocks. The 18 five bedspace units are two storeys.

8 Of the 267 units, 180 are in four-storey blocks.

9 One and two bedspace units are over four, five and six bedspace units.

10 Two storeys of housing over one of garages. na not available

Table 2
Courtyard housing construction costs: comparison of tender prices per unit floor area of some courtyard
houses with those approved by local authorities for comparable low rise units.
No. Bed Storeys Tender Tender Comparison Per cent
units spaces date price price + over
s/sq.ftl s/sq.ft2 -under
Ardler, Dundee 24 4 I Sep. '63 49/llt 73/33 -31'8
Frome, Somerset 20 5 I Dec. '62 57/0t 56/24 +1'5
The Lanes, Rotherham 230 2-55 1-45 JuI. '67 69/4£ 64/1t6 +8'2
Prestonpans, E. Lothian 21 4 I Aug. '61 53/II 52/77 +2'5
The Ryde, Hatfield 28 mostly I 1961 80/41 56/24 +43'2
Thornaby-on- Tees, Yorks 104 6 2 Oct. '63 42/7 56/22 -24'2 NOTES

I From the Architects' Journal, 14 Jan. 1970, 10 Mar. 1965, 21 Apr. 1971,4 Mar. 1964, 12 Oct. 1966 and 14 Sep. 1966 respectively.

2 Calculated by dividing the average cost by the average area given in tables 19 and 22 in Housing Statistics, Great Britain, NO.18 August 1970, London, H.M.S.O.

3 Three-apartment dwellings in Scotland in 1963.

4 Two-storey three-bedroom units in England and Wales in 1963.

5 Comprising 52 two-bedspace one-storey units, 45 fourbedspace one-storey units, !I5 four-bedspace units in two-, three- and four-storey blocks, and 18 five-bedspace twostorey dwellings.

6 Two-storey two-bedroom dwellings in England and Wales in 1967.

7 Three-apartment dwellings in Scotland in 1961.


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121 Moderne Bauformen (October 1934), p.620. 122 Moderne Bauformen (August 1932), P.458.

123 Zentralblatt der Bauverwaltung, vol.48, nO.25 (20 June 1928), PP·397-402.

124 Zentralblatt der Bauverwaltung, vol.yr, nO.13 (April 1931); Wasmuths Monatshefte, vol.re (1932), PP.15-24, and Arquitectura y Decoracion, vol.r r, nO.12 (October 1938), PP·240-6.

125 das Tagebuch, vol.r r, nO.33 (August 16, 1930), P.1307.

126 HANS WINGLER. The Bauhaus, MIT Press (Cambridge, Mass., 1969), P.488.

127 CLAUDE SCHNAIDT. Hannes Meyer, Niggli (Teufen, 1965), PP·38-45·

128 Edijicaci6n, nO.34 (July/September 1940), P.25.

129 LUDWIG HILBERSEIMER. 'Grossstadtische Kleinwohnungen', Zentralblatt der Bauverwaltung, vol.49, nO.32 (7 August 1929), PP·509-14·

130 Arkitekten, no.ro (1932).

131 Moderne Bauformen (August 1932), P.456. 132 Bauwelt (June 1932), nO.24.

133 Moderne Bauformen (September 1932), P.477.

134 LUDWIG HILBERSElMER. 'Flachbau und Stadtraurn', Zentralblatt der Bauverwaltung, vol.yr, nO.53/54 (23 December 1931), P.776.

135 HANS KAMPFFMEYER. Homes should be near workshops, Hoffmann (Stuttgart, 1934).

136 Arena (July/August 1966), P.57.

137 Zentralblatt der Bauverwaltung, vol.yz, nO.2 (13 Jan-

uary 1932), P.14.

138 Moderne Bauformen (1931), P.307.

139 Architects' Journal (21 July 1971), pp.123-4. 140 Casabella, vol.zz, no.148 (April 1940), PP.I-32.

141 L'Architettura, vol. I, no.r (May-June 1955), pp.21-2. 142 Domus, nO.318 (May 1956), pp.r=z.

143 Zentralblatt der Bauverwaltung, vol.yr , nO.53/54 (23 December 1931), P.778.

144 LUDWIG HILBERSElMER. 'Flachbau und Flachbautypen', Moderne Bauformen (September 1932), P.475.


145 WALTER GROPIUS. 'The small house of today', Architectural FOI'um (March 1931), p.266.

146 WALTER GROPIUS. 'Flach-, Mittel-, oder Hochbau?' ClAM, Rationelle Bebauungszoeisen, Hoffmann (Stuttgart 1931), pp.26-47.

147 SIGFRIED GIEDION. 'Introduction', ClAM, op. cit.

148 WALTER GROPIUS. 'Sociological foundations of the minimum dwelling', ClAM, Die Wohnung fill' das Existenzminimum, Hoffmann Verlag (Stuttgart, 1933).

149 Moderne Bauformen, vol.jo (July 1931), pp.321-8.

150 LUDWIG HILBERSEIMER. 'The minimum house in the stairless house', Bauhaus (January 1931), quoted in Wingler op, cit., PP.172-3.

151 LUDWIG HILBERSEIMER. 'Die Wohnung unserer Zeit', Die Form, vol.6, nO.7 (15 July 1931), PP.249-5I.

152 RIBA Journal (January 1972), p.8.

153 Der Baumeister (August 1932), PP.292-3.

154 WALTER GROPIUS. 'Wohnhauser im Griinen', Zentralblatt der Bauueruialtung ; vol.yr, nO.49/50 (25 November 1931), PP.743-7.

155 PHILIP JOHNSON. Mies van del' Rohe, Museum of Modern Art (New York, 1947).

156 ROLF RAVE and HANS KNOFEL, ed. Bauen seit 1900, Ein Fahrer durch Berlin, Ullstein (Berlin, 1963), P.157.

157 WINGLER. Op. cit., P.488.

158 Bauen und Wohnen (July 1958), pp.224-6.

159 HUBERT HOFFMANN. One Family Housing, Thames and

Hudson (London, 1967).

160 Architectural Forum (March 1962), pp.86-8. 161 Architectural FOI'um (March 1957), pp.128-33. 162 Architectural Review (January 1937), p.64.

163 Architect and Building News (14 June 1935). 164 Architects' Journal (30 November 1939), p.663.

165 Architect and Building News (4 November 1938), p.II5·

166 Conversation with Walter Segal, I! March 1969.

167 Architecture dAujourd'hui (January 1935), PP.42-3· 168 Architect and Building News, vol.173 (2 February 1943), PP·I41-7·

169 WALTER SEGAL. Home and Environment, Leonard Hill (London, 1948).

170 Der Architectural Design (October 1956).

171 Architect and Building News, vol.z r j (5 February

1958), pp.18Q-9.

172 Ekistics, vol. 10 (1960), P.355.

173 Architects' Journal (18 February 1960), P.284. 174 Der Baumeister (March 1964), PP.254-6.

175 Architecture d'Aujourd'hui, nO.147 (December 1969-

January 1970), P.57.

176 Architectural Design, vol.37 (September 1967), P.40r. 177 Architects' journal (21 April 1971), pp.883-94.

178 Architects' Journal (December 1971), pp.1230-r.

179 Architectural Design, vol.37 (September 1967), p·416. 180 Hans Scharoun, exhibition catalogue, Akademie der

Kunste (Berlin, 1967), P.77.

181 Architect and Building News, vol.z r y (7 January 1959), p.IO.

182 TERENCE POVEY and PETER HOWE, Court Housing, B.Arch. dissertation at University of Newcastle upon Tyne (1967).

183 Architect and Building News (29 March 1961), P.z42. 184 Journal of the Royal Institute of British Architects, vol.vz, nO·7 (July 1965), P.354.

185 Architecture d'Aujourd'hui, no.I5I (August, September 1970), PP.2z-5.

186 Northern Architect (September, October 1964). 187 Architects' Journal (IO March 1965).

188 DAVID JONES. 'The role of the court house in urban renewal', Keystone (Summer 1961).

189 Architectural Design, nO.9 (1967), P.405. 190 Architectural Review (July 1966), P.48.

191 Arkitektur, vol. 13 (February 1969), pp.I-ZI. 192 Urbanistica, vol.35 (March I96z), pp.89-I04.


Housing Statistics (July 1968).

194 P. A. STONE. 'Prices of Building Sites in Britain', in PETER HALL, ed., Land Values, Sweet & Maxwell (London, 1965).

195 GERALD ELY. Estates Correspondent, The Times (8 December 1967).

196 JOHN NOBLE. 'Housing: the Home in its Setting', Architects' Journal (II September 1968).

197 Byggmasteren, vol.gz (zo February 1953), PP·4I-7·

198 N. SCHONAUER and s. SEEMAN. The Court Garden House McGill University Press (Montreal, I96z).

199 Architectural Record, nO.9 (1970), PP.I48-9·

zoo Edinburgh University Architectural Research Unit, Courtyard Housing, Inchview, Prestonpans, Edinburgh (1966).


Privacy and Courtyard Housing, Edinburgh (1969).

zoz Architects' Journal (4 March 1964), PP.537-46.

203 JOHN and JANET MADGE. Survey of New Army Married Quarters, MOHLG (1965).

Z04 JOHN MADGE. 'Privacy and Social Interaction', Transactions of the Bartlett Society, vol.j (1964-5).

Z05 MARGARET WILLIS. 'Designing for Privacy', Architects' Journal (Z9 May and 5 June 1963).

z06 H. E. BRACEY. Neighbours, subdivision life in England and the United States, Louisiana State University Press (Baton Rouge, 1964).


Note: Figure references appear in italic, illustrat!on references in bold. References to the text appear III roman. The addresses of houses are given if they are still standing and if the address is known.

Aalto, Alvar (b.I898) 21,24,25

Adobe style, see Spanish Colonial style Albertslund, Denmark (1963) 2,42,43,44,47,59 Aldershot, Talavera Lines (1960) 38,44,47,54 Alexander, Christopher 9, 19

Alexander Drive, Lambeth (1967) 40,41,41,47, 56 Allsopp, Bruce 9

Amity Village House (1939) 14 Ancker, Stig 43

Andersen, Svend 26

Apprich, Gebhard 20,25,

Architects' Collaborative, The (T AC) (f.I946) 17 Ardler Development, Dundee (1963) 62,47 Arnstein House, Sao Paulo, Brazil (1943) 14

Arts and Crafts movement 21,22,37

ARU, see Edinburgh University Architectural Research Unit

Atrium house 8,21,22,25,26,27,28, 37 Austin, Alice Constance 16

Austria 41

Backen, Arrigoni and Ross 17 Bandini House (1903) 2, II, 15 Barcelona 35

Barnsdall ('Hollyhock') House, Hollywood Bvd and Vermont Ave, Griffith Park Area West, Hollywood, Cal. (1917-20) 12

Barr, Cleeve (b. 1910) 32 Bauhaus 22,23,28,3°,31,35

Baumann, Povl, House by him at Gammel Vartouwey 16, Hellerup, Denmark (1916) 20,22

Baxter, Clark and Paul 62,43

Belsay House, Northumberland (1810-17) 21 Berlin 32,35,37,41

Bernau 30, 38

Binuclear courtyard house 10,37

binuclear patio house 8, 15, 16, 17, 19,31,41 Bishopsfield, Harlow, Essex (1960) 39,41,43,47 Brenner, Anton (1896-1957), Two houses by him at 9 and II Engelbrechtweg, Vienna (1932) 27,28,31,35

Brentwood, Essex, Gresham Road (1967) 41,47,55 Breuer, Marcel (b.I902) 8, 16, 17,31,41

Brick country house (1923) 35

Browne House, California (1963) 17

Brussels World Exhibition 35

building costs 47

bungalow courts 8, 14

Butler, A. W. 38, 54

Case study house number four (1945) 10 California 8, 10, II, 12, 14, 15, 16, 19,20 Cambridge, Mass. 15, 16,35

Cavalier Residence (1966) 16

Chamberlin, Peter, Geoffrey Powell and Cristof Bon 38, 52

Chermayeff House, New Haven (1962) II, 16, 19

Chermayeff, Serge (b.I900) II, 14, 15,16,17,19, see also Mayhew

Chicago 14,35

China, troglodyte housing in 3 Chitty, Antony 35,37,47 Christensen, Eske 43

ClAM, see Congres International d' Architecture Moderne circulation 21,25,42,46

Cite Industrielle (1901-03) 17,21 climate 8,9,21

Collins, Colin John 41,55

Combe Down, Bath, stone bungalow at, (1909) 22 Community and Privacy (1963) 19

Congres International d' Architecture Moderne (ClAM) (f.I928) 33

construction costs 34,35,41,42,47 Contraspatial House (1948) 7 Copenhagen 43

Cowes 41

Craftsman movement 10 Craftsman, The 11,12,15 Crawley 41

Crowe House (1913) II

Culbertson House, 1188 Hillcrest Ave, Pasadena, Cal. (I9II) II

Cum bern auld 41

Davis House, Wayzata (1953) 17 Denmark 26

density 34,35,38,41,42,46,47 design methodologies 9

Dessau Torten 27,28, 30, 32 Detroit 35, 38

Diotallevi, Marescotti and Pagano 33, 39 Dundee 43, 44

Edinburgh 38

Edinburgh University Architectural Research Unit (ARU) (f.I959) 38,43,47,60,61

Eiermann, Egon (19°4-197°) 41

Ekelund, Hilding 28, 30, 38

Entwistle, Clive 36,37,48

Everdene (1906) 16,22

expansible house 32

factory production of courtyard houses 43

Fairchild House, 17 East St, Manhattan, New York (1941) 9,10, 16, 17

Fisker, Kay (1893-1965) 22


Forbes, James Edwin and John Duncan Tate 15,21 Frank Dixon Associates 48

Freeman Forde House (1904) I I

Friberger, Erik 43

Friedrich, Peter 27,29

Frinton-on-Sea 22

Frome, Somerset (1962) 42,47,58 Fulford House (1910) 6, 12

Galsworthy, John (1867-1933) 21 Garden City movement 27,33 Garnier, Tony (1869-1948) 17,21, 22 Gela New Town, Sicily (1962) 42, 45 Gellner, Edoardo 45

Germany 8,9, 12, 14,27,33,37 Giedion, Sigfried (1893-1968) 33 Gill, Irving (187°-1936) 6, 8, II, 12 ceu, Ernst 30,31,33

Greene, Charles Sumner (1868-1957) and Henry Mather Greene (187°-1954) 2,5, 8, 10, II, 12, 15

Gropius, Walter (1883-1969) 18,25,27,28,33,34,35 Growing House (1930) 31,35,36

growing house, see expansible house

Haring, Hugo (1885-1958). Five houses by him at 71 and 73 Weitingerg, 34 Woionvichgasse, 4 and 6 Engelbrechtweg, Vienna (1932) 8,22,23,27,28,28,30,34,35,43

Harlow 26, 41, 42, 43

Hamby, William and George Nelson 9, IO, 16 Harris, Harwell Hamilton (b.I903) 6, 8, 12 Hatfield 19, 20, 41

heat loss 43,46

Heligoland 41

Helsinki 22,25

high-rise housing compared with courtyard housing 8,27, 33,34,35

Hilberseimer, Ludwig (1885-1967) 8,26,27,28,28,30, 31,31,32,34,34,35,36,37,38,38,41,46

Hodgson House, New Canaan, Conn. (1951) 17 Hollister House (1906) 5, II

Home and Environment (1948) 37

housekeeping 34

House am Horn (1923) 18,22,22 House of the Future (1956) 26,27 House with a garage (1934) 35

House with three courtyards (1934) 35 H-shaped houses 17

Ideal Home Exhibition (1956) 26

Irwin House, 240 N. Grand Ave, Pasadena, Cal. (1903-08) I I, 12

Italy II,32

Jacobs House, Westmorland, Wis. (1937) 5 Japan II

Johnson House, 9 Ash St, Cambridge, Mass. (1942-3) 33,45

Johnson, Philip (b.I906) II, 15, 16, 17,33,35,45 Johnson, William Templeton (d.I957) I,4

Kallio, Oiva (b.I884) 19,23,25,28

Kenton Bar, Newcastle upon Tyne (1966) 47 Koppel, Eva and Nils 25,26

Lambeth Borough Architect's Department 4°,41,41,56 Lanes, The, Rotherham 47

Latty, Bryan and Brian Tucker 42,58 layouts of courtyard houses 8,42

Le Corbusier (1887-1965) 27,36, 37, 38, 48 Leith Fort, Edinburgh (1956) 38,53

Lemke House, Oberspreestrasse, Weissensee, Berlin (1932) 32,35,43


Letchworth 27

Libera, Adalberto 29, 30, 33, 40, 43 Lima housing competition (1969) 19 Linden, Haaken 22

linear patio house 8, 17, 19 L-House (1928) 22,28,28 Los Angeles 34

Low cost housing for tomorrow's suburb (1956) I3 low-rise housing 8,27,33,34,42,43

Lowe House, 596 E. Punahou St, Altadena, Cal. (1934) 6, 8,14

L-shaped houses 8,9, 12,26,27,28,3°,31,35,37,38, 41,43

Lubetkin, Berthold (b.I901) 37 Ludwig, Eduard (1906-1960) 1,35,44 Lutyens, Edwin L. (1869-1944) 14,21 Lyon 22

McArthur, Albert Chase 4, 12

McArthur House, Phoenix, Arizona (1927) 4, 12 Madge, John and Janet 44

Mallows, C. E. (d.19I5) 21

Martin Summer House (1915) 12

mass courtyard housing 8, 27

Mayhew, Clarence W. W. and Serge Chermayeff 16 Mayhew House, Piedmont, Cal. (1947) 16

Mexico 10, I I

Meyer, Hannes (1889-1954) 8,9,24,25,28,3°,31, jI, 32,35,38

Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig (1886-1969) 15, 17, 32, 35, 38, 4I, 42, 43, 46

Mission style, see Spanish Colonial style mobile homes 35, 43, 46

Megelvang and [ern Utzon 26,26,32 Monk, Sir Charles 21

Muche, Georg (b.I895) 18,22,22 Multipatio house 8, 10, 15, 17

multi storey complexes of courtyard houses 8,37,39,4°, 41,43,55

Munich 26, 28, 35

Nagel, Chester I2, 17

Nagel House, Five Fields, Mass. (1953) I2 National Building Agency 32, 41

Neff, Wallace (b.I895) 17

Neutra, Richard (1892-197°) 12, 14

Newcastle upon Tyne Architect's Department 26, 42 New York 16

Neylan, Michael, 26, 39, 41, 42, 43 Norgaard, Ole 2,44, 59

noise 19,46

Noyes, Eliot (b.I9Io) 17

Oivala atrium house, Helsinki (1925) 19,23,25 Olsen, Donald (b.I9I9) 7,14, 16

One-and-a-half storey courtyard houses 37,38,52,53 Orchard House, Godalming, Surrey (1899) 14,21 orientation 8, 41

Palm Springs 12

Park Ranch, Fallbrook, Cal. (1925) 12 Parker Morris standards 20

patio 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 17,21,27,37,41 Payne, H. Morse I3, 17

Percy, George W. (1847-1900) and F. F. Hamilton (1853-1899) II

Perry, Frank 38, 53

Phippen, Peter 12, 13, I8, 19,41 Pompeii 21,31

Prairie movement 10, 14 prefabrication 35

Prestonpans housing (1961) 43,44,47,47,60,61 privacy 7,8, 17,25,44,46

Purcell, William Gray (1880-1965) 8,9, 14 Popinoff House (1924) 12

Rainer, Roland 41,42,57 Rapson, Ralf(b.I915) 10,16

Robert House, Coronado, Cal. (1917) 1,4, II Robin Hill (1903-1906) 21

Rockefeller Guest House, 242 East 52 St., Manhattan, New York (1950) I 1,16,17

Rome 8,21,22,29,3°,4°

Roofing over pedestrian paths 42, 47 Rotherham 41

Rudofsky, Bernard (b.I905) 14,15,16 Rudolph, Paul (1918) 43,46

Ryde, The, Hatfield (1963) 12, 13, 18, 47 Ryder and Yates and Partners 42

Saarinen, Eliel (1873-195°) 22 San Diego 22

San Francisco I I

Scandinavia 8,22,27,37

Schindler Residence, 883 N. Kings Road, Hollywood, Cal. (1921) 3, 7, 12

Schindler, Rudolf (1887-1953) 3,7, 8, II, 12,35 Seeck, Uli 26, 35

Segal, Walter 8,27,28,37,37,38,49,5°,51 Sert, Jose Luis (b.I902) 17

Scharoun, Hans (b.I893) 41

Scott, M. H. Baillie (1865-1945) 16,21,22 single-aspect houses 8,27,35, 38,41 sleeping out of doors 12

Smithson, Alison (b.I928) and Peter (b.I923) 26,27 Sowden House, 5121 Franklin Ave, Griffith Park Area W., Hollywood, Cal. (1926) 12

Spanish Colonial Revival (c.I895-c.I930) 8, 10, II, 12, 14, 15

split-level houses 8, 38 Stickley, Gustav (b.I858) 9,15 Stirling and Gowan 41 Stuttgart 28

TAC, see Architects' Collaborative Tashkent 41

Taylor House, near Winters, Cal. (1893) I I Tecton (f.I932) 35,37,47

Thornaby-on- Tees 47

Timkin House (1911) 12

Tirley Court, Cheshire (1908) 21 Troyes 27

two-storey courtyard houses 8,27,28,35,38,38,41,49, 54

United States 8,25,41,44 Unwin, Raymond (1863-19°4) 27 user surveys 43, 44

U-shaped houses I I, 15, 19,37,41

Utzon, [ern (b.I9I8), see also Megelvang 26,42

Vienna 31,32,35

Vienna Werkbundsiedlung Lainz (1932) 23,27,28,35 Vitruvius Pollio, Marcus (active 46-30 B.C.) 21,22 Voysey, Charles F. A. (1857-1941) 19,21,22

Walters, Roger 38

Warne, Bengt 25

Welwyn Garden City 27

Willis, Margaret 44

Windowless House (1924) 27

Wingspread, Wind Point, Wis. (1937) 14 Wright, Frank Lloyd (1869-1959) 5, 12, 14

Wright House, 858 N. Doheny Dr, W. Los Angeles, Cal. (1928) 12

Wright, Lloyd (b. 1890) 12 Wong, Yan Chun 34,35

Z-shaped houses 42


Architectural Association Papers PaperNo I

Roofs in the Warm Humid Tropics Otto Koeaigsberger and Robert Lynn

PaperNo 2

Sources of Modern Architecture Dennis Sharp

PaperNo 3

University Planning and Design Michael Brawne out of print

Paper No 4

Design Methods in Architecture Geoffrey Broadbent and Anthony Ward

PaperNo 5

From Schinkel to the Bauhaus Julius Posener

Paper No 6

Architecture in Tropical Australia Balwant Singh Saini

Paper No r

Working-class Housing in 19th-century Britain J. N. Tarn

PaperNo 8

Housing Improvements: goals and strategy Simon Pepper

PaperNo 9

The Modern Courtyard House Duncan Macintosh

Paper No 10

Expressive Systems in Architecture and Design Juan Pablo Bonta

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