Given the proximity of the beach, one could easily conclude that most people living in Brighton don’t require a garden of their own. However, one can easily find a wonderful selection of courtyard-style houses in this prized neighbourhood, with the salt air combining with the jasmine-lined fences from these gardens. In the warmer weather, sliding glass doors are left open allowing the interiors to fuse with the courtyard spaces.

1. Chamberlain Architects

Location: 50 New Street, Brighton

Located on the corner of Butler and New streets, this striking contemporary home features a courtyard garden immediately past the front gate. Constructed with insitu concrete, the lush garden creates a sense of an oasis immediately upon arrival. The main bedroom, located on the first level, also benefits from looking down into this lush canopy. “We wanted to use the courtyard not only to create privacy, but also to provide the effect of a lightwell,” says architect Glen Chamberlain, director of the practice. “Hence its name (of this project) being daubed ‘Light Vault’,” adds Chamberlain, who was also keen to reduce the number of windows to the street

2. WARC Studio

Location: Loller Street, Brighton

Originally an inter-war 1930s house conceals a strong contemporary glazed pavilion to the rear. Renovated and extended by WARC Studio, the idea with the new L-shaped extension was to create as many courtyards as possible. There are now four courtyard-style gardens, three of which are accessed from the children’s bedrooms, giving them their own outdoor spaces. The other courtyard comes as a surprise, with access from the moody steel-clad hallway. “Courtyards offer a sense of intimacy. It’s not dissimilar to being on a deserted island, where you have the entire place to yourself,” says architect Andrew Wilson, director of the practice, who also enjoys seeing the different light qualities in each one.

3. Seccull House by architect Guilford Bell

Location: 32 North Road, Brighton

Architect Guilford Bell is considered by most as the supreme master of the courtyard-style house. The Seccull house, designed by Bell for the owner-builder Bill Seccull in 1972, features several courtyards. There’s a substantial front courtyard-style garden concealed behind the home’s front fence, together with another courtyard separating the main dining and living wing from the parents’ main bedroom and retreat. Courtyards can also be discovered in the children’s bedrooms, creating intimate pockets. Inspired by Bell’s travels in the Middle East, these walled and protected courtyard gardens have experienced a resurgence in recent times.

4. Martin Friedrich Architects

Location: 113 Were Street, Brighton

This crisp white contemporary home by architect Martin Friedrich has a series of courtyard-style gardens. One of the most dynamic features a swimming pool that wraps around the open plan dining and living areas. And to one side, abutting the formal dining area, is a Zen-like Japanese-style courtyard framed by bamboo.

5. Contemporary two-storey house

Location: 115 Dendy Street, Brighton

A stone’s throw from the beach, this contemporary two-storey home features a generous courtyard-style garden ‘cut’ into the side of the property. Adjacent to the kitchen and meals area, it’s the idyllic spot for entertaining friends and family. The two-tiered timber deck that spills out to the lawn creates a subtle division between the garden and the interior spaces.

Text by Stephen Crafti

Images courtesy of Derek Swalwell

Chamberlain Architects, images courtesy of Derek Swalwell

Chamberlain Architects, images courtesy of Derek Swalwell


Chamberlain Architects, images courtesy of Derek Swalwell

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