Full Court Houses

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   The Full Court is an O-shaped design that encloses all four sides of a central courtyard. There are three primary types of Full Court Houses:

   Country Courtyard Mansions: Historically, many Full Court designs were attached to adjacent buildings, but Full Court designs may also stand free in the landscape. Freestanding Full Court Houses are likely to be Mansions because it takes a lot of square footage to enclose all four sides of a moderately sizeable courtyard. The greatest manor houses in Europe, for example, are typically courtyard houses, fully enclosing one or more courtyards.

   City Courtyard Houses: Full Court Houses in the city are as likely as not to be built adjacent to other buildings in the most urban parts of town. Attached houses in European cities, for example, almost always have an interior courtyard. Because they are attached, urban Full Court Houses are only one room deep except at the front, where they sometimes are two rooms deep.

   The Three-Quarter Courtyard: There is a third Courtyard sub-type that has recently been popularized at Alys Beach in Florida. This sub-type uses the blank wall of the neighboring house to enclose the fourth side of the courtyard. As a result, this type can be smaller. We hope to be able to include our Alys Beach homes in this section at a later date. Three-Quarter Courtyards are entered via a covered passage between the house and its neighbor known as a “zaguan.” Depending on where the garage is located, it is possible to have adjacent Three-Quarter Courtyards with no interior finished spaces that adjoin interior spaces in their neighbors’ houses. So you get the efficiency of an attached home (no wasted side yards) with the privacy of freestanding homes. This all depends on the land planner knowing what they’re doing and coding the courtyard locations properly, of course. Buy in a neighborhood designed by a good New Urbanist planner to make sure this happens.

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