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Department of Architectural Engineering

College of Engineering


Tools developed for Courtyard Design to enhance Daylight Performance in Adjacent Spaces under Desert Clear

Sky Conditions

Faculty Advisor

Prof. Khaled A. Al-Sallal

Defense Date

11 June 2015


The court or courtyard refers to an area surrounded by the walls of a structure. It does not have a roof

and is open to the sky. The courtyard is functionally an outdoor space that can be used in many ways:

to provide extension to the indoor activities in the outdoors, to create a central space for social activities,

and/or to create a private garden. Its high popularity is understandable as it improves building’s functions

and occupants’ security and privacy; and it promotes fresh air and light. The majority of studies were

carried out on the functionality of courtyards examined its thermal performance and shading and exposure

within the courtyard. Other courtyard studies that investigated its daylight performance in adjacent spaces

were conducted for locations with overcast skies. Further studies that help to predict adequate daylight

availability and quality in spaces adjoining a courtyard are needed in locations characterized with clear

skies (Hot Arid climate). The aim of this research is to study the amount of daylight entering spaces

adjacent to courtyards, and how different courtyard configuration forms (different length, width, and

height ratio) affect daylight availability. The study is conducted under desert clear sky conditions of the

UAE. The performance variables in question use Climate-based Daylight Metrics (Daylight Autonomy, and

its variations). The method to investigate the daylight performance depends on computer simulations

using Daysim software under Rhino Interface. The study analysis the above mentioned metrics in relation

to daylight penetration into the adjacent spaces only, and concludes with guidelines on the optimum

courtyard design and proper sizing of its space and adjacent zones to improve natural lighting and visual

performance and recommendations to further enhance the daylight performance.


Feb 12, 2017
Dec 13, 2017