Courtyard House commenced life in 1885 as a generously proportioned Italianate terrace in the Toxteth Estate of Glebe. During the interwar period, like many dwellings in Glebe, it underwent significant unsympathetic alteration into a boarding house.

Project Name: Courtyard House
Studio Name:
Cox Architecture
Location: Sydney, Australia
Photography: Robert Walsh
Completion date: 2020

Courtyard House By Cox Architecture - Sheet1
Dining Space ©Robert Walsh

In reconfiguring it back into a single dwelling, the ambition was to create a courtyard house that afforded much better amenity than the typical terrace typology. Organised around a central sunny north-east facing courtyard, conceptually based on the Riad – a traditional Moroccan house with an interior shady cool garden court – all interior spaces seamlessly interface with the courtyard.

Courtyard House By Cox Architecture - Sheet2
Bedroom ©Robert Walsh

The green courtyard is the physical and conceptual heart of the dwelling. By contrast – and like a Riad – its exterior is robust and sever in its restraint and lack of embellishment. The house is ideal for the mature family with two teenage sons – enabling both retreat and engagement.

Courtyard House By Cox Architecture - Sheet3
Living Room ©Robert Walsh

“The design for the house embraces the ideal of adaptability – it is designed to ‘transform’ easily between three modes – single generous 4 bedroom home, two 2 bedroom homes, and a large 2 bedroom home with a separate studio. This adaptability is designed-in – including all building services – it challenges the ‘fixed’ way in which design our housing stock, potentially addressing challenges of housing affordability.” COX Director, Joe Agius.


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