Learning from the Vernacular: Exploring the Potentials of Courtyards to Enhance Environmental Delight -A Case of Dhaka

  • Shayeeka Binte Alam Lecture,Department of Architecture, Brac University,Dhaka
Keywords: Dhaka, Courtyards, Daylight, Thermal Comfort, Vernacular Strategy


The present Dhaka, a rapidly growing urban centre of Bangladesh, is experiencing more pressure than ever for housing solutions because of the expeditious urbanization factor. Dhaka is rich in vernacular architecture history resulting from hundreds of years of optimization to provide a comfortable shelter in a local climate using available materials and known construction technologies developed through several trial-and-error processes. This study aimed to investigate the daylight and thermal effect of the age-old courtyard strategy of Bengal architecture. Through an extensive literature study, three vernacular case studies were selected to represent different building styles of Bengal. Each study was comprehensively analysed for the pre-monsoon season, which is generally the hottest time of the year, to observe the efficiency of the courtyard. The research was conducted by adopting a multimethod approach, including different quantitative research strategies supported by a qualitative method. The outcomes of this research were based on experiments conducted through building performance simulations software (IES-VE). The investigation revealed that the courtyard helped the vernacular buildings increase the thermal performance maximum up to 10%. The incorporation of the courtyard resulted in a 3% lesser indoor temperature, confirming an average 20.1% more comfortable temperature in the hot-dry season. The analysis also reviewed that the courtyards support delivering more indoor illumination than the buildings without courtyards. The results of this study provided influential design guidelines and strategies to attain environmental delight that can be implemented for the further development of the future residential housing of Dhaka.

Author Biography

Shayeeka Binte Alam, Lecture,Department of Architecture, Brac University,Dhaka