Arquitectura Viva
Saturday, December 05, 2020

Archstudio, ‘Layering Courtyard’ in Beijing

The Chinese firm archstudio founded in 2010 by Han Wenqiang has renovated a 500-square-meter commercial block with a quadrangular courtyard, located close to Qianmen (gate of Beijing’s old wall), south of Tiananmen Square. Once a brothel and later a bakery, the building has been transformed into a complex for public activities and accommodations for guests.

Besides improving the quality of the construction and the infrastructures, the main objective of the intervention is to create different setting and experiences inspired in the atmosphere of the hutongs, where new and old, interior and exterior, and artificial and natural are set against each other while complementing one another. The project fragments the central courtyard with a new volume positioned parallel to the preexisting ones and separated from them by voids. The spatial sequence is inspired in the traditional idea of the ‘layered courtyard.’ With this strategy the degree of privacy increases gradually with every step inward, through three courtyards and three buildings. The more public uses, such as reception, the dining room, the bar, and the kitchen, are placeld flush with the street. The middle volume is used as a multipurpose space, while the two-floor rear construction contains the more private spaces for guests.
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