ISSUE 4  |  Herbs and Potions

Architect Visit: The Magic of Two Courtyards in Melbourne

January 28, 2014 11:00 AM

BY Christine Chang Hanway

Melburnian architecture firm Studio Edwards‘ insertion of two internal courtyard gardens into the existing fabric of a small and narrow urban house might at first seem counterintuitive. With limited indoor space, does it make sense to give up more to the garden?

Oh yes. Designed to distribute daylight and ventilation evenly through the difficult-to-reach areas of a long and narrow (13 by 75 feet) former worker’s cottage in Fitzroy, Melbourne, the two garden courtyards pull off a difficult feat. Large glass doors create better air circulation and rooms with a view. The effect is to make indoor spaces seem more connected and bigger than they are. Clever and ingenious? We think so.

Photographs by Fraser Marsden courtesy of Studio Edwards.

Studio Edwards in Melbourne designed this small home with two courtyardsAbove: Large full height glass doors open into the first courtyard.

Studio Edwards in Melbourne designed this small home with two courtyardsAbove: The bedroom doors open straight onto the courtyard garden.

Studio Edwards in Melbourne designed this small home with two courtyardsAbove: With borrowed light and space from the garden courtyard, a bedroom and hall feel bigger.

Studio Edwards in Melbourne designed this small home with two courtyardsAbove: Concrete floors complete the raw and unfinished aesthetic.

Studio Edwards in Melbourne designed this small home with two courtyardsAbove: Access to the bedroom beyond is either through the naturally lit hall or the courtyard.

Studio Edwards in Melbourne designed this small home with two courtyardsAbove: A raw, unfinished aesthetic runs throughout the house, underlining the continuity of the spaces.

Studio Edwards in Melbourne designed this small home with two courtyardsAbove: Light is drawn into the living room through a window to the first courtyard. The open bookcases are reminiscent of wood framing.

Studio Edwards in Melbourne designed this small home with two courtyardsAbove: The raw aesthetic continues.

Studio Edwards in Melbourne designed this small home with two courtyardsAbove: A through-view from the back of the house to the front is open, airy, and light-filled.

Studio Edwards in Melbourne designed this small home with two courtyardsAbove: A three-dimensional model illustrates the series of the spaces and the relationships between interior and exterior spaces.

Intrigued by the power of a courtyard to transform a house? For more of our favorite courtyard gardens, see Garden Visit: Andrea Cochran’s Courtyard Vignettes.