Dhanushka and Eranda are from a working-class household. They travel from Thalahena, Malabe, to Colombo every day for work. They were looking for a home that offers privacy and features the relaxing ambiance of the outdoors. Hence, the concept of a courtyard house was conceived.
The courtyard features a double-heightened internal volume with various levels within the home that facilitate diverse views through various angles of the courtyard. It truly enhances the entire atmosphere of the home and showcases all the different spaces of the house where the family spends most of their time in a solitary line – of – sight.
A double skin protects the house from the road, with an external timber screen and internal glass. The road that runs along the west side of the building adapts to the sun’s position to reduce heat gain during the day; the façade is made out of a timber screen that allows for cross ventilation while also limiting direct solar heat gain.
The living room spills into the courtyard, providing extra area and eventually opening up the garden. A large spacious hall is designed for mutual household activities and spaces, such as dining, watching TV, and the pantry, which physically and visually opens into one another and ultimately into the garden. This results in the free-flowing area and the impression of a larger area than a restricted footprint.
There is stack ventilation throughout the courtyard that helps keep the house breezy, whereas the bedrooms remain thermally controlled and comforted. The dining space opens onto a timber deck, which also facilitates outdoor dining. The neutral colors and vast openings complement the natural timber foundations and add prominence to the vegetation, creating a sunny and airy vibe. But for more intimate places such as the bathrooms and bedrooms, the construction features an extra rock-solid block that gives a more sober effect and safeguards privacy.
Photographs: Ganidu Balasuriya