Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Courtyard Building, Part IV

After covering the basics with the courtyard building, we're now moving on to the courtyard itself. The best of these buildings were built on wider than average (or multiple) lots, which enable the courtyards to be exceptionally wide (Park Gables in Rogers Park for instance). One disadvantage to the design of these buildings is the "back side" of the buildings, with the service entrances, back stairs & etc. When they were built, deliveries were common, classism was much greater and there were servants and more stay at home householders to take receipt of deliveries and keep the back entries necessary.

But this is mere digression, since we were (well, are) discussing the courtyard themselves. The best of these are lushly and elegantly landscaped, and by this time have mature plantings, perhaps maintained lovingly by tenants or landlords.

Our first example is a nicely maintained, but rather plan example - the shot was taken in spring. Part of the reason for it's not having heavy landscaping is the width, which is quite narrow, as well as it's north-facing orientation, which prevents sunlight from fostering many plants.

In our next example, the courtyard is simply landscaped, but comes across as both warmer and lusher; two factors enhance this - the south facing building gets more light then the first example, while the lower building height allows more light from the east and west in (the first building has an English basement, while this one has a conventional first floor and partial height, if you will, basement).

The next example has landscaping which nearly conceals the entire building from view - while it makes the building less visible, it does provide shade and helps to keep the apartments cool. In fact, sometimes the landscaping and trees make summertime photography impossible. I will have to make some winter time treks to photographically document many buildings after my summer time reconnaissance missions.

The last example has a rather nice balance of landscaping - ground cover, tree's, etc in a fairly wide and sunny (west facing) courtyard. The lawns and plantings are all well tending and lovingly designed to compliment the building.

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