Saving Space in Urban Areas with Courtyard Houses

HFT architects present reference book on DFG-funded project

The reference book on the German Research Foundation’s*) research project on “Compact Courtyard Housing” has been published. The authors are Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jan Cremers, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Design at HFT Stuttgart, architect Dr.-Ing. Peter Bonfig and David Offtermatt, both academic research associates at the university. The book is published in German and English. The German title is “Kompakte Hofhäuser”.

The millennia-old building type of the courtyard house is reinterpreted as a building block for urban quarters of high density and heterogeneity. The compact courtyard house with usually three closed exterior walls has a very small footprint. With three to five storeys and up to four residential units, it can replace single-family houses and also conventional residential buildings. Outdoor space, which conventional buildings need for distance to each other, is integrated into the compact courtyard houses as high-quality courtyard space that is shielded from view. Indoor and outdoor spaces can thus merge into a spatial continuum with high utility value. Each flat has at least one such courtyard. The dilemma of conventional building forms – density = loss of privacy and stress due to unwanted visibility – is resolved.

In the book, different types and variants for plots of different sizes and proportions are presented in detail. They can all be easily combined to form urban ensembles and quarters. At the same time, each building can remain largely autonomous on its own plot through simple ownership.

There are many possibilities for the application in urban environments with correspondingly low land consumption: redensification of existing residential areas, conversion of brownfield and residual land, new construction of mini-neighbourhoods up to larger urban neighbourhoods. The book shows the characteristics and extensive typologies of the compact courtyard house and thus provides planners with practical information and data for their work.

Further information: Compact Courtyard Houses, phase 2

*) (Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft – DFG)


Contact person

Jan Cremers
Jan Cremers +49 711 8926 2620
Publish date: 18. June 2021 By Michaela Leipersberger-Linder ()