Courtyard House by COX Architecture draws inspiration from traditional Moroccan riads

COX Architecture Director Joe Agius converts a boarding house to a family home in Sydney, with the dwelling keeping the focus on the courtyard as centre of all activities.

by Meghna Mehta Published on : May 19, 2020

Located in the Toxeth Estate, a historic centre in Sydney, New South Wales in Australia, the Courtyard House has been redesigned by Joe Agius of COX Architecture to a modern abode that is inspired from Moroccan architecture. The Courtyard House came into being in 1885 as a large and generously proportioned Italianate terrace in the Toxeth Estate of Glebe. During the interwar period, like many dwellings in Glebe, the house underwent significant unsympathetic alterations into a boarding house. Now it has been converted into a contemporary home with a refreshing appeal for a mature family with two teenage sons.  

The courtyard inspired from ‘riad’ – a Moroccan house typology | Courtyard House by COX Architecture | STIRworld
The courtyard inspired from ‘riad’ – a Moroccan house typology Image Credit: Robert Walsh

The approach was to reconfigure it back into a single dwelling while giving privacy to each of the family members. The ambition was to create a courtyard house that catered to the needs of the day with amenities of the modern world, and walks away from the terrace typology.

  • The contemporary feel given to the traditional Italianate terrace in Glebe, Sydney, Australia | Courtyard House by COX Architecture | STIRworld
    The contemporary feel given to the traditional Italianate terrace in Glebe, Sydney, Australia Image Credit: Robert Walsh
  • Elements of the old boarding house restored | Courtyard House by COX Architecture | STIRworld
    Elements of the old boarding house restored Image Credit: Robert Walsh

"The design for the house embraces the ideal of adaptability – it is designed to ‘transform’ easily between three modes – single generous four-bedroom home, two two-bedroom homes, and a large two-bedroom home with a separate studio,” says Cox Architecture Director Agius.

The seamless connect between the courtyard and the interior | Courtyard House by COX Architecture | STIRworld
The seamless connect between the courtyard and the interior Image Credit: Robert Walsh

The house draws inspiration from ‘riad’, a traditional Moroccan house where the house is organised around a central courtyard with multiple storeys of dwelling that have non-ornamental and blank façade. In the case of this Courtyard House in Australia, the place welcomes the sunlight from the north into a centric sunny north-east facing courtyard. All the interior spaces are designed to seamlessly interact with this central space that connects all, metaphorically and physically.

The Moroccan house typology incorporated in the interior spaces 
| Courtyard House by COX Architecture | STIRworld
The Moroccan house typology incorporated in the interior spaces Image Credit: Robert Walsh

“The adaptability is designed-in – including all building services – it challenges the ‘fixed’ way in which we design our housing stock, potentially addressing challenges of housing affordability," mentions Agius.

  • Wood and concrete used in the renovation of the house | Courtyard House by COX Architecture | STIRworld
    Wood and concrete used in the renovation of the house Image Credit: Robert Walsh
  • Elements of the new and old combined | Courtyard House by COX Architecture | STIRworld
    Elements of the new and old combined Image Credit: Robert Walsh

The central green courtyard becomes the physical and conceptual heart of the dwelling. Much like the façade of a Moroccan ‘riad’ house, this abode adopts a contemporary approach. The exterior is a robust exposed concrete façade and severs in its restraint and lack of embellishment. The house is an attempt to be an ideal home for the family, enabling both retreat and engagement.

Project Details

Name: Courtyard House
Location: Sydney, Australia
Year: 2020
Area: 550 sqft
Architectural firm: COX Architecture, Joe Agius Architect

Comments

Comments Added Successfully!

About Author

Meghna Mehta

Meghna Mehta

An architect by education and a journalist by passion, Mehta pursued a crossroad between her two interests. Having completed an M.Arch from CEPT University in Ahmedabad, she has worked in the field of architectural journalism for over 5 years. Besides content generation for STIR, she continues to teach in architectural schools in Mumbai.

Recommended

LOAD MORE
see more articles
913,1095,1102,1043,875

Keep it stirring

get regular updates SIGN UP

Collaborate with us

This site uses cookies to offer you an improved and personalised experience. If you continue to browse, we will assume your consent for the same.
LEARN MORE AGREE