Set in a space of just 32-square-meters and surrounded by other buildings, this Beijing-based hutong renovation was no small feat. But the architects have successfully managed to transform what was previously a dilapidated shack into a comfortable home, that maintains both its historical roots while introducing some modern comforts and contemporary design.
Beijing, China, is home to a number of these hutongs. It’s only more recently that they’ve captured the attention of the outside world, thanks largely to those who are brave enough to venture their renovation.
This project, completed in 2016, was overseen by a local architect referred to as OEU-ChaO. It’s set in Xirongxian Hutong, which is renowned for its mix of building typologies. Here you’ll find towers, residential complexes, monuments, hutongs, and courtyards all together in one big melting pot.
Like many of the homes in this district, this house is flanked on all sides by other buildings. But it also features a small courtyard; a welcome reprieve from the bustling mass of the city.
In order to respond to the “Isolation”, a series of independent and easy to build units were introduced and cooperate with the original building system. They construct a gradation between public and private, outside and inside, build a path for light, wind, events and people’s movement. Also, the cooperation between new elements and original building structures establish the connection between past and present. – OEU ChaO
The architects approach to this renovation, was to place a shell over much of the original structure – many of the external walls are now internal walls. With only one wall open to the exterior, it was crucial that they take advantage of it for natural light, which they have done, as you can see, it’s lined with windows.
The principle of the plan arrangement is to place all assistant spaces and furnitures on the perimeter in order to maximize the size of the central open plan. – OEU ChaO
The home is largely composed of a single room, divided up by curtains and a mezzanine floor. The kitchen, dining area, and living room all occupy the central space, while the bedrooms can be found to one corner, stacked on top of one another.
Photos © Zhi Cheng