Maria Philokyprou, Aimilios Michael
University of Cyprus, Department of Architecture


Central courtyards emerged in many civilizations of the world. Cyprus was no exception as courtyards formed important architectural features throughout the centuries in the residential architecture of the island. The erection of dwellings attached to each other, the need for a private outdoor protected space due to the introverted character of societies, as well as the climatic conditions, i.e.warm Mediterranean climate, led to a widespread use of the courtyard in nearly all traditional residences of the island in the last two centuries. Apart from vernacular architecture, courtyards appeared in earlier historic periods and, in some cases, they were found to be used in the residential architecture of more recent decades. This paper presents an analytical study of the social and environmental aspects of courtyards in the vernacular dwellings of Cyprus. The research underlines the role of the courtyard as an important social gathering area, as well as a microclimate regulator in the residences. Moreover, it highlights its bioclimatic significance in enhancing the integration of nature’s elements into the design and overall architectural concept of the dwelling.

courtyard, social, environmental, vernacular architecture, traditional dwellings, Cyprus



SAJ Vol. 8, 2016, No. 1