Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Architectural Engineering

First Advisor

Khaled A Al Sallal

Second Advisor

Shayma Al Kobaisi

Third Advisor

Valerian Miranah


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 have been carried out on the environmental aspects of courtyards examined its thermal performance and shading and exposure within the courtyard. Other studies investigated daylight availability in atria's adjacent spaces conducted for locations with overcast skies. Further studies helping to predict adequate daylight availability and quality in spaces adjoining a courtyard in locations characterized with clear skies (hot arid climate) are needed. This gap of needed research and the special significance of the courtyard in hot climates (as a climate modifier and an intimate social space) formed the main motivation behind this research. The aim is to study daylight performance in spaces adjacent to courtyards, with focus on how different courtyard design configurations (i.e.; different volumetric aspect ratio in prototype buildings ranging between 1-3 floors) affect daylight availability and potential of glare. 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 relied on computer hour-by-hour simulations using DAYSIM analysis software (Radiance-based) under Rhino 3D modeler Interface. The study analyzed the above-mentioned metrics in relation to daylight penetration into the adjacent spaces with varying window-to-wall ratio from 100% to 40%. It concludes with guidelines on the optimum courtyard design and proper sizing of its space and adjacent zones to improve natural light