Siavash Khorrami was born in Iran and specializes in traditional Islamic Architecture and Architectural History. He earned a Bachelor of Art in Art History and Humanities from Michigan State University in 2004 and studied at Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 2008.
Before industrialization the role of the home was different in regards to production, activity, work, family practice and rituals. Due to its simple spatial ingenuity and environmental adaptability, the courtyard house has endured as one of the most widespread architectural forms, transcending regional, historical, and cultural boundaries. As the world modernized so did the roles placed on the courtyard home and the family.
In a setting like Chicago the courtyard house was under-realized as an affective housing typology. While a number of modernist architects used the courtyard type for high density, low rise housing in the 1950s and 1960s, contemporary residential construction is dominated by high-rise, townhouse, and single family formats. These housing types dominate the urban fabric of a city like Chicago, coupled with the infrastructure of the city and organization of the Chicago block little has been done little to expand on the role of the family and community.
The project examines a contemporary version of the courtyard house using the Chicago block as a template and develops residential types for the city that can encourage new forms of communal living with multi-family courtyard homes. These new designs would address the primary elements of the courtyard house including structural organization (density), microclimates (environment), and thresholds between public and private (transition). The problem is how to adapt the typology of a courtyard house to reassert family and community in an urban Chicago setting.
The exhibit’s goal is to let the gallery guest be aware of the possibilities and range of the courtyard house. Gallery guests are encouraged to read the companion book Adapting the Courtyard House and fill surveys that question the role of the community, family, and current living conditions. As a gift gallery guests can leave with a piece of the exhibit; their very own courtyard.
(Master of Architecture)