I must say that I really like the courtyard space. However, in my mind it would have a cleansing feel. I feel like I would employ this courtyard tactic as way to "cleanse the pallet", in a way contradicting your theme. But again, I don't think there is something absolute in this feeling. You could very well feel differently in this in between space.
You describe the in between space as a threshold. A threshold implies the transition between spaces. I strongly belief that as a designer we can sculpt these in-between spaces for certain purposes. Right now it implies a smooth ans sinuous transition between one and another. It also provides clear connections (sensory) between the two spaces. My question would be: Is a smooth, open transition between two distinct spaces the best way to preserve concentration and focus?
I think maintaining an even ground plane supports your statement. I question the size of the in between space. Right now it is large enough to serve as an extension of either of the other spaces. Is this intended? Should it have a stronger connection to one or the other? Should its edges respond uniquely to each of the adjacent spaces because the adjacent spaces are different?
I'm drawn to the idea of an interstitial open space like your courtyard. I feel like the entrance threshold/sequence on the left side begins to de-emphaisze the powerful statement the void is making in the center... what if you let your shop space bleed as far out as the quiet space? This would mean the owner would have to walk to through their work place in order to seek solitude/mediation. Would this contradict your stance distinct spaces or could each begin to have a dialogue and begin a conversation like what nate is suggesting?
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