A Riad is a Moroccan home, or palace, royal in its artisanship, ecologically friendly and intelligent in its architecture. From the outside, this traditional home is often marked by a basic door in an alley way, unassuming and modest.
However, inside the senses come in contact with the glorious and ceiling-less majesty inside. The courtyard is the centerpiece of this glory as natural light shines down into the building onto a plunge pool, intended to cool the surroundings on a warm day. Again, playfulness with light is important as the changing sunlight from the day reflects off the rippling water onto the walls of the courtyard. Looking down onto the enchanting courtyard is balcony all along the second floors with latticework windows. The rooms are all connected to this central space.
Courtyards often have gardens as well, representing the notion of a paradise garden in Islam, which is known for its fountains, open sky, and walls encapsulating it all. With the water spring at its floor and the open air at its heights, the structure represents the cardinal directions and a lifestyle integrated with the elements of nature.
This form was designed to safeguard homes and inhabitants from sandstorms and the hot sun. It has an added feature of giving a feeling of being inside and outside all at once.
The architecture of a Riad allows for natural heating and cooling as the cool floors, greenery, pool and shade create a cooler climate than the one outside the building’s walls, while the open sunshine warms the walls for a comfortable sleep on cooler nights.