ECO-TRADITIONAL COURTYARD HOUSES IN UAE: A CASE STUDY OF THE SHARJAH MUSEUMS
Free (open access)
15 - 24
A courtyard is an architectural design element traditionally and commonly integrated in UAE vernacular architecture for its environmental and social potential that reflects the sustainable design bases in traditional architecture. This research provides a qualitative study on the usefulness of courtyards as passive energy saving systems in the UAE. This includes my investigation into traditional old houses in Sharjah, to compare their courtyards’ traditional use with the recent use of these courtyards after renovations and the changes in functions of some houses that currently are used as art exhibitions or museums. The research purpose is to focus on the application of courtyards in the context of the Heart of Sharjah public buildings, that reused the internal courtyards spaces for various community activities to create a socially active hub, to represent the cultural and traditional aspects for the Emirates community and its recognizable character, that express the community’s cultural needs and extend the communication roots by introducing some historical background to new generations. The aim is also to raise awareness of the potential environmental aspects of courtyards in the hot dry climate of the UAE, with respect to the vision of sustainable architecture that reflects the natural context, including the climate conditions, the human context, and traditional cultural values. In addition, the research investigates the strength of the relation between the well-designed courtyard and its occupants’ social behavior: the social aspects of sustainability traditionally and recently as well. The research study is qualitative and based on interviews, surveys and technical measurements that targeted public visitors to the selected buildings as a case study. The results from the analytical part of the research, including a list of recommendations to be applied to the traditional houses in Sharjah for their renovation and preparation for public use in terms of the cultural building principles that match the traditional and environmental aspects of sustainability.
traditional architecture, courtyard house, Sharjah heart, sustainability