Wednesday, August 20, 2008
The Courtyard Building, Part III
Obviously, the main, overridingly distinctive feature of the courtyard building, both architecturally and functionally is the courtyard. While there are many different unit plan combinations, the basic premise of a large courtyard is a constant, consistent theme of the type.
The post will deal with the while future entries will deal with the court itself, this posting deals with the entry into the courtyard. Often, all that enters the courtyard is a simple sidewalk, perhaps, if one is lucky, with a few plantings around it, along the length, or I should say, depth, of the courtyard. However, in a few lucky instances, there is something rather more, both interesting and elegant (as well as functional).
In the first three examples, which are above, there are simple gates across the front of the courtyard, inset a bit from both the street and main facade. In the first example, the gate is simply an openwork trellis. In the second, it appears that the gate is either new or rebuilt to accommodate a gate with an electric strike. In the third example, the gate replaces a fence which was yet further in, which has been, in turn, replaced with nothing in a recent renovation.
This is a gate or fence, which blocks direct entry into the courtyard. The court entry can be unlocked, or more often than not, has been turned into a keyed entry with buzzers and intercom system from entry to units. Sometimes, it even becomes a pavilion of sorts, decorated in the style of the building, or even becoming the featured decoration of the buildings court. The courtyard is often, especially when wider, lushly landscaped and luxuriantly verdant.
In the first example above, there is an open gate, in an ornate fence, welcoming residents and visitors into the court. In the second and third examples, there is a pavilion blocking entry (and controlling access) into the courtyard. In the second example, it connects to the main block of the building, while having one end (and I am cheating somewhat here, since this isn't a full courtyard building - although more than half - albeit an excellent example of an entry pavilion). In the last example, the gate stretches across the entire narrow mouth of the courtyard with elaborate terra cotta ornamentation and tile roof, in a Spanish Revival- Neo-Colonial amalgamation. There also exist moorish and gothic-medieval variations of this as well.