The Flat Or Inclined Roof The Glass Courtyard

A planar roof area is horizontal or pitched, the roof profile is one-dimensional.

The top-lit courtyard screened off from the external surroundings is one of the oldest forms of spatial organisation. It serves to provide light and access to adjacent spaces and is defined by a tranquil, introverted ambience that is an invitation to linger. The interior square atrium terminating in a horizontal glass ceiling, in which none of the lateral enclosing elements are dominant, constitutes the purest form of a glass courtyard. Originally an open light well in Roman homes, the atrium is today often annexed to existing light wells and used as a lobby, exhibition space or cafeteria. With the growing dematerialisation of the wall, glass courtyards emerge in less introverted forms in which one or several directions are singled out. The opening can be additionally emphasised through a rectangular plan or the incline of the roof area. In the case of an "inserted glass courtyard", only three sides are enclosed by solid building components, and the orientation towards the open, often fully-glazed front assumes a prime importance for the organisation of the floor plan. A "corner glass courtyard" has two adjacent open sides, reinforcing the diagonal flow in the interior space. The "glass courtyard annex", finally, is open on three sides. The tranquil character of the glass courtyard can be preserved even in the case of shed and saddle-roof constructions with the help of interior dust or luminous ceilings suspended from the primary structure. A double-skin construction of this kind marks the skylight hall as a variation on the classic glass courtyard. [2.2/3]

9 The inserted glass courtyard (view towards ceiling), Sparkasse Düsseldorf, 2001, Arch.: Ingenhoven Overdiek and Partners

12 GUM arcades in Moscow, 1893 Eng.: V. G. Suchov

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