Courtyard Building


A medium-to-large sized (1 to 3.5-story*) detached structure consisting of multiple side-by-side and/or stacked dwelling units oriented around a courtyard or series of courtyards. The courtyard replaces the function of a rear yard and is more open to the street in low intensity neighborhoods and less open to the street in more urban settings. Each unit is accessed from the courtyard and shared stairs each provide access up to 3 units.

Typical Specifications

Lot Front-loaded Alley-Loaded
Width* 100–135 feet 85–125 feet
Depth* 110–150 feet 100–150 feet
Area* 11,000–20,250 sq. ft. 9,350–18,750 sq. ft.
  0.25–0.46 acres 0.21–0.43 acres
Number of Units 6-25 6-25
Typical Unit Size 500–1,300 sq. ft. 500–1,300 sq. ft.
Net Density 26–60 du/acre 33–70 du/acre
Gross Density 21–56 du/acre 24–61 du/acre
Parking Ratio* 1–2 per unit 1–2 per unit
On-street Spaces 3–6 3–6
Off-street Spaces 1 per unit max. 1 per unit max.
Front* 10–15 feet
Side* 5–12 feet
Rear (main building)* 10–20 feet
Between Main and Accessory Buildings 10–20 feet
Building Size
Width 50–100 feet
Depth 40–80 feet
Height (to eave)* 20–40 feet
Floors 1-3.5 stories
* Varies based on context

Idealized specifications take the best characteristics of this type and update them for today’s typical building standards, serving as a model for new development.

Alley Loaded

Ideal Specifications

Width 85 feet
Depth 110 feet
Area 9,350 sq. ft.
  0.215 acres
Number of Units 6 units
Typical Unit Size 778 sq. ft
Net Density 28 du/acre
Gross Density 20.5 du/acre
Parking Ratio 1.67 per unit
On-street Spaces 4
Off-street Spaces 6
Front 15 feet
Side 5 feet
Width 67 feet
Depth 47 feet
Height (to eave) 22 feet
Floors 2 stories