Thesis Defence: Peter Bachetti

Friday, February 8, 2019 10:00 am - 10:00 am EST (GMT -05:00)

Thesis Defence: Peter Bachetti

Of the thesis entitled: Courtyard Urbanism A model for North American cities?


The courtyard has endured as one of the most widespread architectural forms. It transcends regional, historical and cultural boundaries to mediate open and closed, inside and outside, social constraints and environmental requirements. What new role can the courtyard play in today's dense urban setting?

Historically the courtyard was the center of domestic life, production and activity for the family. As domestic priorities changed within the industrial setting of a North American city, the courtyard lost its value. The European courtyard block has therefore struggled to be realized as an effective building typology in North America. While the courtyard has historically been used for high-density low-rise housing, such as the Cerdà block in Barcelona, building construction, such as in contemporary Toronto, is dominated by high-rise high-density building typology.

As Toronto's population increases the city is seeing an influx of high-rise condo development. The problem becomes that the rapid urbanization of these high-rise towers increases density and overloads resources to the point where infrastructure cannot keep up. Through city initiatives such as the "Avenue and Mid-Rise Study," the city of Toronto has tried to establish a mid rise building typology to accommodate a gradual transition of density and allow infrastructure to catch up. In parallel, these high-rise condo towers fail to incorporate public green spaces within the city. With the increase in density over the coming years, and no new parks being added to the downtown core, this number will start to diminish.

This thesis aims to create a framework to test Europe's courtyard typological attributes against Toronto's main street development strategy in order to balance green space and density, by providing a new approach to a traditional urban design problem of accommodating future growth in the city.

The examining committee is as follows:

Supervisor: Val Rynnimeri, University of Waterloo

Committee Members: Rick Andrighetti, University of Waterloo, David Correa, University of Waterloo

External Reader: Michael Hannay, MBTW

The committee has been approved as authorized by the Graduate Studies Committee.