The kitchen and the courtyard both act as centers to the house, which should create some spatial tension (eg. which is more important?) in the composition. The kitchen and courtyard are joined through the largest glazed opening in the house, an 8-foot-by-16-foot row of glass doors which we've raised three feet so that they sit above the kitchen counter. The opening faces north, and thus will fill the kitchen with cool, indirect light throughout the day, and it will also connect the kitchen with the courtyard and living/dining room into a single spatial continuum.
Outside, the courtyard helps bring scale and proportion to the house. The courtyard is roughly the same size as the two wings to either side (one for the living/dining room, the other for the family room and bedroom), and so it breaks up the mass of the house while creating a series of rhythms (solid-void-solid, column grid). We're really curious to see how the boundaries of the courtyard might appear to fluctuate (between the exterior walls and the interior surfaces) depending on the light, and how the glazed openings in the kitchen (the big door and the clerestory above) will visually relate to the courtyard.