June 19, 2019

Creating Glass Courtyards

Written by Rebecca Clayton

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Opening up homes and creating internal light-filled spaces has been a goal of architects for many years now. Homeowners across the UK want a greater connection to the outdoors and want homes that feel open and airy.

Glass extensions, open plan living areas and rear walls of glazing can all provide a luxuriously bright interior, but architects are more often choosing to include an internal glass courtyard in their projects.

An internal courtyard can arguably bring in a lot more natural light to a space than a simple rear extension, especially in the narrower, longer townhouses that you will find in cities like London.

By including a glass-walled courtyard to the centre of a house renovation, architects can bring in a tunnel of natural light to the centre of a building and create a new outdoor living area. Even if the internal glazed courtyard is only small it can bring about huge benefits to the building design.

A Glass Walled Courtyard

The Garden Room House in Richmond was a house renovation and extension project designed by Paul McAneary architects. The project was a new approach to a typical rear London house extension. Instead of simply extending the house backwards and adding a rear wall of glass, the architects designed a new extension to reach right to the back of the plot and to wrap around a glass-walled courtyard.

Glazed Garden Room

The internal courtyard was walled on three sides by our sliding glass door system; minimal windows®. These sliding glass walls were designed to offer a flexible connection to the courtyard garden. Different elements of the glass walls can be opened as required including biparting sliders in front of a built-in seating area and corner-opening sliding doors on each corner.

Luxury Living Courtyard

The Treeside luxury residence utilised an internal courtyard by the home spa and pool area. The spa and relaxation areas to the house were in the basement. The inclusion of this internal courtyard allowed natural light to penetrate these areas.

Jura House Internal Courtyard Glazing


The courtyard was walled by frameless structural glass and accessed by a set of bronze finished sliding doors.

Tree in a Courtyard

This luxury villa project used minimal windows® throughout and included a central courtyard as part of the design. The glass-walled courtyard was made using minimal windows® sliding doors with a tree planted in the middle.

minimal windows glazed courtyard

This element of nature brought greenery to the middle of the house design.

A Glass Floored Courtyard

This property in London took a completely different approach to create an internal courtyard. A central void over the basement living areas was covered with a structural glass floor. The walk-on glazing provided an external courtyard area from above but allowed light to still enter the basement below.

Internal Walk on Glass Courtyard

The glass floor was finished with a ceramic frit pattern which created a slip resistance to the walk on surface, whilst maintaining an element of transparency through the structural glass.

Double-height Courtyard Centrepiece

This international project in Kuwait designed a stunning internal garden courtyard as the focal point for the rest of the home. The courtyard occupies an open-air, double-storey space that creates a pillar of light down the very centre of the house, linking each floor together and providing a unique connection to the outdoors.

Slim sliding glass doors to internal double height open air garden courtyard

At the ground floor level, ultra slim sliding glass doors surround the garden space, allowing for easily adjustable ventilation when slid back. The minimal framing ensures that natural light can flow interrupted into the depths of the home, even when the doors are closed. To the second floor, frameless balustrades surround the double-height opening and provide the homeowners with beautiful views of the open air garden below.

Create your own glass courtyard

Contact the team at IQ to find out about the different glass solutions available to create the glass courtyard on your project.