A new studio and courtyard inspired by ancient Chinese housing design maximize the potential of this 1940s residence in Seattle. Grasshopper Studio and Courtyard, designed by Wittman Estes Architecture + Landscape, encourages flexibility, and exhibits a beautiful outdoor space filled with greenery.

Grasshopper Studio and Courtyard, Wittman Estes Architecture + Landscape, green renovation, courtyard house, courtyard, Seattle, green architecture, open-plan layout, glass walls

Grasshopper Studio and Courtyard, Wittman Estes Architecture + Landscape, green renovation, courtyard house, courtyard, Seattle, green architecture, open-plan layout, glass walls

The project sits on a rectangular lot with an existing house, which was built in the 1940s. The design includes a multi-functional studio space toward the back of the lot, and a sunken courtyard that provides privacy and a strong connection to nature. The architects wanted to redefine traditional single-family housing and create a space that offers an alternative to the boxy structures taking over the city.

A woman sits at a table in a greenery-filled courtyard.

Grasshopper Studio and Courtyard, Wittman Estes Architecture + Landscape, green renovation, courtyard house, courtyard, Seattle, green architecture, open-plan layout, glass walls

Related: Exquisite Japanese house wraps around a generations-old tree

“Normative new housing demolishes existing small buildings and replaces them with Seattle Modern Boxes that maximize building size and density within zoning setbacks,” the firm said. “Grasshopper Studio and Courtyard offers an alternative density called courtyard urbanism.”

Grasshopper Studio and Courtyard, Wittman Estes Architecture + Landscape, green renovation, courtyard house, courtyard, Seattle, green architecture, open-plan layout, glass walls

Grasshopper Studio and Courtyard, Wittman Estes Architecture + Landscape, green renovation, courtyard house, courtyard, Seattle, green architecture, open-plan layout, glass walls

The 360-square-foot open-plan studio features a glass wall on the side facing the house. The façade that faces an alley is clad in corrugated metal sheets. An overhang extends beyond the south wall and forms a carport.

The studio opens onto a sunken patio inspired by ancient Chinese courtyards. Here, the family can dine, relax and entertain guests. In the center of the courtyard, a silk tree provides shade during hot summers.

+ Wittman Estes Architecture + Landscape

Via Dezeen

Photos by Nic Lehoux

Grasshopper Studio and Courtyard, Wittman Estes Architecture + Landscape, green renovation, courtyard house, courtyard, Seattle, green architecture, open-plan layout, glass walls

Grasshopper Studio and Courtyard, Wittman Estes Architecture + Landscape, green renovation, courtyard house, courtyard, Seattle, green architecture, open-plan layout, glass walls

Grasshopper Studio and Courtyard, Wittman Estes Architecture + Landscape, green renovation, courtyard house, courtyard, Seattle, green architecture, open-plan layout, glass walls

Grasshopper Studio and Courtyard, Wittman Estes Architecture + Landscape, green renovation, courtyard house, courtyard, Seattle, green architecture, open-plan layout, glass walls