This is a marvellous book, in which photos speak louder than words. It is a very good effort to bring
the courtyard houses to the realm of the concerned readership of scholars, students, and artists who seek
good knowledge and beautiful display of coloured pictures.
‘Courtyard houses of Morocco’ is wonderfully written, with a blend of large shining photos and meaningful
text. The book comprises seven chapters which take the reader through the courtyard houses of Moroccan cities.
In chapter one, the book discusses the relation between the home and Islam, and the importance of the
house as the sanctuary of the soul. In chapter two, the book further elaborates on the ‘Medina’ or the
Muslim city in an effort to introduce the traditional context for the courtyard house in Islam, and
then goes on in the next chapters to review houses in different cities. In chapter three, in the holy
city and Fez, the book deals with notions of Hispano-Moresque art, and the retiring nature. In chapter
four, and in Marrakesh city, the Andalusian art becomes infused with rural influences. Courtyard houses
in this city become a magnificent feast for the eye, and the garden becomes a metaphor for the Paradise.
In Essaouira medina in chapter five, the book takes the reader through new patios made of stone and wood,
and villa Baghdadi reviewed through large coloured photos becomes alchemy of Africa and the East. Chapter
six, Kasbahs of the Oases, defines an architecture that is unique to North Africa, and warns of a heritage
in peril. The final chapter, temples of the art of living, closes on by revealing Dar Ahlam, and draws on
contemporary influences leaving room for some speculation and interation between the traditional and the
The book completes one of the missing links in the research about Arab houses, thus becomes important
for art, architecture and social studies that can derive, compare and understand beyond the text by
means of the many illustrations it contains.
The book comprises 214 pages. It is a publication of Thames and Hudson in 2005, with 235 colour
illustrations. It is written by Corinne Verner, and photographs by Cecile Treal and Jean Michel Ruiz.