Cover Cornwall Gardens, in Singapore, by Chang Architects. Photograph: Albert Lim (courtesy Thames & Hudson)

Design editor Charmaine Chan's newest book, Courtyard Living, delves into the inspiration and architecture behind some of the region's most compelling living spaces—all of which are built around courtyards.

In the hustle and bustle of big-city living, private outdoor space—a quiet retreat of one's own, complete with fresh air and greenery—can sometimes feel like the ultimate luxury. In her new book, Courtyard Living: Contemporary Houses of the Asia-Pacific, out September 19, design editor Charmaine Chan explores 25 unique homes across Asia and Oceania—including properties in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, India and Sri Lanka—that are contemporary embodiments of the thousands-years-old pursuit of the indoor-outdoor lifestyle.

In five chapters—sectioned into privacy, multi-generational living, sightlines, light and ventilation, and living with nature—Chan highlights clever and inspirational design features in detailed photographs and architectural drawings. Here are 15 of our favourite from the collection. 

AN House, in Jakarta, Indonesia

2+2 House, in Sydney, Australia

Saigon House, in Ho Chi Minh City

17 Blair Road, in Singapore

ARC House, in Brisbane, Australia

Chameleon House, in Bali, Indonesia

Courtyard House, in Changhua, Taiwan

House by the Lake, in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Marble House, in Bangkok, Thailand

Paranaque House, in Manila, Philippines

Shadow House, in Alibag, India

Riparian House, in Karjat, India

Suryamzhu, in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Residence Rabbits, in Bangkok, Thailand

Cornwall Gardens, in Singapore

Courtyard Living: Contemporary Houses of the Asia-Pacific by Charmaine Chan is out September 19 and available on

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