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Courtyards: Aesthetic,Social,and Thermal Delight

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2002

    A Must Have Book for Every Landscape Architect or Designer

    Courtyards is a one of a kind book, the result of 20+ years of loving research. Professor John Reynolds is crazy for courtyards and it certainly shows. A courtyard is a space surrounded by a building, often surrounded by a house. There are all manner of courtyards, large, small, huge, quiet, loud. Some are open and others are terribly private. But all good courtyards have things in common. In the landscapes most of us in the US are used to, we have a house and the gardens are on the outside and we see them before we see the house. In a sense these landscapes serve mostly as dressing to enhance the outward look of the house. But a fine courtyard garden is different. It is smack in the middle of the house and the house surrounds it. It is not wide open to the world, but instead is a place to get away from it all, a place to be outside, but not to be out in the open. The best courtyards are open to the sky, have water, vines, a multitude of interesting flowers, trees, potted plants. A large number of the very finest courtyard plants are discussed in detail in this excellent book. I was struck by how interesting the numerous photos and designs were. Profusely illustrated, each one serves a definitive purpose. I was struck too, by how many different things go into the making of a well thought out courtyard. What is involved so that it will be warm in the winter and cool in the hot summer. What is involved so that it becomes a place where people want to be. I took many notes as I read this large book and some day I plan to build a house of my own design, and in the middle of it, I'm going to have a courtyard. And in this courtyard, I'll have all the things needed, the ingredients so carefully detailed here, that make the right courtyard a magical place. I'd recommend this book for anyone who ever plans to build their own home, for all landscape designers, for all architects, for anyone with a serious interest in horticulture and design. An excellent book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2002

    The author says:

    My love of courtyards started 20 years ago in Colima, Mexico. I continued to observe and measure courtyards in South America and in Spain, returning to Mexico as well. I hope you will enjoy these courtyards' aesthetic, social, and thermal triangle as much as I have. What a beautiful blend of architecture and landscape design they are! PS to Book News: Eugene is a lovely place for courtyards from July 4 through Haloween. A Eugene courtyard is on page 190. The book's concluding paragraph: Courtyards invite the designer's detailed attention to a relationship of plants, animals and people; to the juxtaposition of outdoor variation and indoor consistency; to a controlled connection with the community from within the privacy of the courtyard. The surrounding covered yet exposed arcades are not only delightful paths, but places as well, for virtually any activity that might be transported from the indoor rooms, as conditions invite. The geometry of the courtyard is softened by the organic presence of plants, adding that sensual stimuli that architecture by itself cannot provide. It is the dwelling space that most celebrates change, both with the seasons and with age. The courtyard, with its modest area requirements, can return enormous benefits to its surrounding building, allowing a site to be covered with more building than open space, yet still in contact with sun, wind, rain, earth, and stars.

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