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Courtyard Housing around the World: A Cross-Cultural Analysis and Contemporary Relevance

Donia Zhang Neoland School of Chinese Culture


The courtyard house is one of the oldest dwelling types, spanning at least 5,000 years and occurring in distinctive forms in many parts of the world across climates and cultures. This article takes a panoramic view and makes a cross-cultural analysis of the courtyard houses in six cultures: Chinese, Indian, Islamic, Greco-Roman, Spanish, and Hispanic-American, by addressing four areas of concern: cosmic axis and architectural symbolism, favorable orientation of buildings, socio-spatial organization, and cultural activities in the courtyard houses. It then looks at contemporary new courtyard housing around the world. The paper concludes that the courtyard form is a common heritage of humanity that has a past as well as a future. Moreover, the courtyard form has been built all over the world, and the shared meaning of the courtyard house is an earthly paradise, from which one may construe that the meaning of the world is a courtyard garden.


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Courtyard Housing around the World Presentation Slides
Courtyard Housing around the World Presentation Slides
Courtyard Housing around the World Presentation Video
Courtyard Housing around the World Presentation Video


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Comment number 1, Donia Zhang: Jul 13, 2020, 05:40

This paper has won a Best Paper Award by the Organizing Committee of the 3rd International Conference of Contemporary Affairs in Architecture and Urbanism (Certificate Number: ICCAUA2020BAW17)