Sunken courtyards as educational environments: Occupant's perception and environmental satisfaction

Fatemeh Amirbeiki Tafti, Mina Rezaeian Abrishami, Zeinab Emadian Razavi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sunken courtyard is known as one of the basic elements in vernacular architecture, especially in hot-arid zones. Even though the significant influence of sunken courtyards in energy saving is known for a long time, their suitability for occupants has not yet been precisely investigated. Therefore, this paper presents a detailed analysis of the suitability of vernacular sunken courtyards for modern-day building design. Three traditional dwellings with sunken courtyards, which currently are used as educational environments, are considered in the city of Yazd, Iran. The study is based on open and close-ended questionnaires so as to evaluate psychological and environmental factors that could affect the perception and satisfaction level of the occupants. The results of the close-ended questionnaire reveal that the three sunken courtyards could effectively reduce the traffic noise level. In addition, these spaces have positive impression on the occupants as they find them as comfortable, pleasant, calm and quiet areas. The results of the open-ended questionnaire show that the sunken courtyards are capable of providing a strong link to the green areas, incentives for learning, comfortable temperature level in summers, more concentration and creativity. On the other hand, the sunken courtyards fail in providing sufficient daylight and acceptable thermal comfort during winters. Recommendations will be provided to improve the performance of sunken courtyards in order to meet the requirements for occupants' comfort.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-134
JournalTunnelling and Underground Space Technology
VolumeVolume 78
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Sunken courtyards as educational environments: Occupant's perception and environmental satisfaction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this