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Inside Outside Architecture – How to Leverage this Trending Design Style

 Incorporating the outside world into buildings is becoming a popular architecture trend; the creation of dynamic environments and fluid interior spaces allows for the permeation of nature and light, without losing any feelings of cosy seclusion.

A far cry from the confined, dimly lit terraced houses seen often in urban areas, inside outside architecture celebrates the brilliance of nature, even in confined spaces. Through careful planning and consideration, any building can be adapted to the surrounding environment.

Inside outside architecture should aim to blur the line between indoor and outdoor, creating seamless bonds between protected seclusion and the environment. For this to work successfully, a building must blend perfectly into the surrounding environment, not being the centre of attention, but simply another impressive part of nature.

Popular for a variety of building utilisations, inside outside architecture strays away from sterile and bland interiors and helps create inspiring spaces for the future. Legacy is prominent in inside outside architecture, with architects favouring sustainable materials for builds to promote physical change and weathering in line with nature.

Creating a synergy between the inside and outside can be achieved in many ways, some methods far simpler than others. Here we have rounded up some of the most popular design features and architectural tricks to create a stunning inside outside building design.

Chantry Atrium Light


Windows are widely underappreciated in many building designs, however in modern builds looking to utilise natural light and promote transparency, windows are paramount. Not only are floor to ceiling windows guaranteed to grant you sublime views and valued light, they can help blend the inside and the outside.

Essential in many colder climates, windows afford feelings of inclusion with the outdoors without intrusion of the elements. Glazing can help provide year-round comfort inside while still permitting admiration of the dramatic views outside. In warmer months or temperate climates, bi-fold doors are ideal; allowing for the option of expansive open outdoor space.


Large open spaces can be threatening; for designers, there is a fear the space may looking looming and empty, for users, a massive area may be intimidating and unwelcoming. Help diversify a space with huge floor to ceiling curtains, creating fluid multiuse spaces within a larger area.

Particularly good for inside outside buildings, well designed curtains help section areas without losing natural light or ventilation. Consider curtains with clear panels to create secluded spots without losing light. The control of light and boundary definition afforded by curtains help to blur interior borders and allow flexibility in a building’s sectioning and flow to the outdoors.

Open Spaces

Inside outside builds often include spaces entirely open to the elements, whether through restricted roofing or an exposed courtyard. Allowing light (and even rain) into a space helps one feel like they are outside but still gives the privacy of being secluded inside; the ultimate amalgamation of isolation and escape. Courtyards can be incredibly effective, especially when surrounded by glass, at allowing the outside in, even in central parts of a building. Exposed walkways or corridors have the added affordance of aiding natural ventilation, increasing the sustainability of a building.


Exceptionally useful in smaller spaces, mirrors help a space feel bigger and create dramatic interiors. Mirrors also reflect light around a space, maximising natural light from windows and reducing dimly lit area. The feeling of allowing the outside inside can be accentuated by mirrors; reflecting the woodland and flora outside creating natural vistas inside.


Bring Nature Inside

Aside from natural light and ventilation, inside outside builds may bring nature inside, blurring what defines the outdoors. Having plants, creeping vines, or even an actual tree inside a building changes understanding of the inside and outside, furthering the feelings of being outdoors with the privacy of indoors.

Even a water feature can elevate an inside outside design, promoting reminiscent sounds of the outdoors with trickling water.

Use Timber

Cladding a building’s exterior with timber blends the building into the natural environment, merging into woodland and open landscapes impeccably. Continue the cladding inside to create seamless transitions between inside and outside, or for a more subtle flow, match the timber specie of the cladding to the timber used for interior furniture to maximise continuity.

Timber is especially useful in urban areas lacking in surrounding nature, as it replicates the impression of natural woodland wherever the building is as well as being a material proven to reduce stress imitating actually being in nature.

If aiming to design an environmentally considered build, timber is an invaluable material as it’s carbon neutral and sustainable if sourced properly. Check out our sustainable promise to find out more.

Get Started with NORclad

With over 40 years’ experience in timber cladding, our experts can help you find the perfect inside outside architecture solution. Contact our specialist team today to get started on your innovative design journey.

2022-04-05T12:42:30+01:00November 14th, 2019|

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