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Title: Courtyard housing in the UK : Potentials for high density-low energy urban housing
Author: Goh, Ai Tee
ISNI:       0000 0004 0123 5194
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2010
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The Garden City Movement has been a trigger for the design development of the courtyard house for the working class single family in Northern Europe in the late-1920s. This house form was experimented with in the UK for three decades since the late-1950s, and has since been neglected as only few architects have explored its contemporary relevance. This research seeks to investigate the potential of reinterpreting the contemporary courtyard house for creating an urban housing that can adapt to the changing needs of its dwellers over time in the UK. Four main research problems have been identified: the lack of a comprehensive study of the courtyard house type in the UK; a mismatch between the kinds of house needed by a family throughout their life course and the house provided by the market; a paucity of knowledge regarding the concept for housing mobility; and the biased observations on the sustainability (thermal performance) of this house form in the UK. A holistic approach was used in this thesis to ensure that a greater insight can be developed in examining the potentials of courtyard housing in providing low rise high density and low energy housing in the UK. The research began with a literature review followed by a combination of different research method techniques such as content analysis, ordinance survey mastermap analysis and overt non-participant field observations to collect information about the contemporary courtyard house schemes in the UK. A post occupancy evaluation (POE) study was then carried out on three carefully selected recently completed courtyard housing schemes in the UK. A postal questionnaire survey, in-depth semi-structured face-to-face interviews and overt non-participant observation techniques were adopted to examine users' perceptions of the performance of this house according to a number of selected criteria. Next, the cross tabulations and logistic regression analysis techniques on data of censuses obtained from the Office for National Statistics Longitudinal Study (LS) were carried out to establish if there is any evidence to support the argument that design (housing and environmental) factors rather than economic ones influenced individuals' housing mobility. Finally, Ecotect, the thermal performance analysis tool was used to evaluate the thermal performance for different house forms in the UK. The tool was then used to investigate the best thermally performing courtyard house configuration in the UK. Furthermore, the case studies technique was adopted to examine architectural and environmental design strategies and approaches to design towards zero energy for space heating in a home. There are four key contributions in this research. Firstly, a systematic survey of courtyard housing schemes designed and/ or developed in the UK from 1950s to the present day was completed with the aim to provide a comprehensive database for designers, planners and policy makers. Secondly, the results from POE studies of three recently completed courtyard house schemes in the UK, show that the `Home' received the highest level of satisfaction in all cases. The evidence collected through the POE studies suggest that the courtyard house type (when it is well designed) is well suited for creating a contemporary family house in an urban area. Thirdly, the empirical evidence from the housing mobility study seem to suggest that design (housing and environment) constitutes one of the most important variable influencing individuals' housing mobility in the England and Wales. The best model to predict `house move' made by individuals between 1991 and 2001 Censuses in the England and Wales is a combination of variables from design/ environmental (accommodation type, population density and number of rooms in house), social (age, household type and number of person in house) and economic (social class). Last but not least, this study establishes that the long-narrow with the internal court configuration performed (thermally) better than L-, I-, Z- and T-shaped courtyard house. Careful planning and layout may improve its thermal performance to reach results that are better than terraced house. Additionally, nine architectural design principles were recommended to ensure low energy consumption for residential buildings in the UK.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available