Inspired by our regular visits to Japan, this house’s central theme is a ‘tsubo-niwa’ or small courtyard garden. These small gardens were originally found in the interior courtyards of Heien Period palaces, and were designed to give a glimpse of nature and some privacy to the residents of the rear side of the building. They were as small as one tsubo, or about 3.3 square meters. During the Edo Period, merchants began building small gardens in the space behind their shops, which faced the street, with their residences located at the rear. These tiny gardens were meant to be seen, not entered, and usually had a stone lantern, a water basin, stepping stones and a few plants.

Workshop Architecture were engaged in August 2013 to work with the initial concept ideas and plans and develop the design, planning approval and documentation. Nerissa in conjunction with the builder undertook value management and project managed the project to completion.

Inspiration also came from a ‘courtyard houses’ tour run by the Robin Boyd Foundation Nerissa attended in 2012, in particular the Fenner House:




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