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In this video by buildofy.com, SanJay Puri, principal architect of SanJay Puri Architects offers some insight into the concept and thought process behind one of his most notable residential design projects- the courtyard house.

Inspired by the traditional Indian courtyard home that responds to hot climatic conditions, the Courtyard House located in Beawar, Rajasthan, India is representative of its name. In response to its location in a desert region and climatic zone, the overall attempt has been to build in a sustainable manner with natural ventilation being facilitated throughout the house. This helps minimise heat gain and increase energy efficiency keeping the home cool. Here’s a more detailed description from the architects.

Located at the edge of a cement plant in Rajasthan, India, the house is designed in response to a climate with long summer months of 45oC average temperature. Organically radiating concrete volumes of varied proportions from central open to sky courtyards create a sculpted series of spaces in this house.

The layout is evocative in principle of traditional Indian courtyard houses that create a cooler environment within to battle the extreme heat of the climate. Each of the living spaces is oriented to capture the changing landscape on each side through deeply recessed openings that form transitory sheltered spaces between the inside and the outside while considerably reducing the heat gain to the internal spaces.

In addition, most rooms open onto sheltered garden spaces with privacy which are created with grass covered earth berms, externally. This translates the internal courtyard space as an external courtyard space in a sense, creating cool external spaces.

While most of the extensive requirements of the client are arranged around a large central courtyard, additional guest rooms are located along a smaller courtyard, both being linked through an open corridor. Each of the bathrooms and dressing areas too, open onto small landscaped external courtyards.

Angled in different directions with volumetric variation, the house is built almost entirely in exposed concrete creating a sculptural presence. Each of its internal spaces have a unique identity with open, enclosed and semi-enclosed spaces, constantly changing in relation as one moves within the house or within each of its rooms. The planning ensures cross ventilation for every space within the house. This aspect along with the creation of the large internal courtyard gardens, the smaller external courtyard spaces and deep recessed windows creates a house that is much cooler internally than the exterior making it extremely energy efficient.

Concrete was chosen for its accessibility from within the site that is a cement plant as well as for its thermal properties. The building is iconic and sculptural in appearance yet sensitive to its climate and adjoining surroundings. The internal courtyards and terraces are surrounded with large earth mounds which give privacy to the user and constant shade to the internal spaces.

This relatively large house, due to the client requirements, is designed in response to the desert climate of its location and is built sustainably with natural ventilation being facilitated throughout the house and minimized heat gain to increase its energy efficiency.

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