The Courtyard Houses of Syria

The Courtyard Houses of Syria

The courtyard house is one of the most enduring architectural forms, transcending regional, historical and cultural boundaries. Its balance of simple appropriate construction, environmental control and social and familial structures continues to engage architects and architectural historians. The emphasis on courtyard in Islamic architecture gave it the name of the "architecture of the veil", because it focuses on the inner spaces (courtyards and rooms) which are not visible from the outside. Courtyard housing is an architectural device with a long history first appearing in the buildings of Syria and Iraq three millennia ago. Arab nomads first made use of the concept of a courtyard during their travels and stay in the desert. They set up their tents around a central space, which provided shelter and security to their cattle. With the development of Arab-Islamic architecture, the courtyard became an essential typological element. It is likely that the previous nomadic desert lifestyle of Arabs had a strong influence on their permanent houses. The courtyard therefore fulfils a deep-rooted need for an open living area. This article describes the typology of the Syrian courtyard house, and presents a number of examples of courtyard houses in Aleppo.

Rate this article: 
Average: 4 (15 votes)
See full gallery
Back to article