Nature has revitalising effects that are great for mental health but often we’re pretty removed from it in our modern homes. In built-up areas, there can be restricted space for gardens, or they may not offer enough privacy from the next-door neighbours. Courtyards offer an opportunity to put this right. Surrounded by the home itself, there are no prying eyes from next door, and the central location of the green space encourages footfall through it when moving from one interior room to the next. Designed by Kaizen Archi, these two bright and modern Vietnamese villa concepts are centred around their airy courtyards that provide blissfully cooling ventilation and a serene 360º garden view.

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Concrete, natural stone and solid wood build a beautiful 905 square metre modern spanish house, located in Comunidad Valenciana. Architects Ramon Esteve Estudio designed the house as a horizontal program of boxes and sunlight capturing courtyards. The elongated profile is enhanced by a flat roof and a floor that has been raised up 30cm from ground level. The swimming pool stretches flatly across the front of the landscape, forming a perfect reflection of the linear architecture. Overhangs on the exterior cause interplay with the natural light path to the interior, where contrasts of light and shadow shape the rooms.

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