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  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Hospitality Architecture
  4. China
  5. META - Project
  6. 2013
  7. Courtyard near West Sea / META - Project

Courtyard near West Sea / META - Project

  • 19:00 - 16 January, 2017
Courtyard near West Sea / META - Project
Courtyard near West Sea / META - Project, © Su Chen, Chun Fang
© Su Chen, Chun Fang

© Su Chen, Chun Fang © Su Chen, Chun Fang © Su Chen, Chun Fang © Su Chen, Chun Fang + 28

  • Architects

  • Location

    West Sea, Beijing, China
  • Design Team

    Wang Shuo, Zhang Jing, Yaping Wu, Yin Cheng, Qianqian Chang, Han Wang, Guowei Zhang, Tian Lan
  • Area

    800.0 m2
  • Project Year

    2013
  • Photographs

© Su Chen, Chun Fang
© Su Chen, Chun Fang

Text description provided by the architects. Unlike the introverted quality of the traditional courtyard house, the owner of this site asked for a variety of mix-use program, including tea house, dinning, party space, office, meeting, as well as dwelling and entertainment. The contemporary and sometime “public” program opened up the courtyard to become “extraverted”, so as to induce more human interactions. 

Before . Image © Su Chen, Chun Fang
Before . Image © Su Chen, Chun Fang

These required us to break the general understanding of the courtyard as an enclosed typology by introducing the experience of “meandering in the hutongs” into the courtyard, and the interventional approach was derived from the unfolding spatial narrative of hutong life. 

Diagram 1
Diagram 1

The cautions with which specific renovation measurements are made demonstrate circumspection. First, we converted the narrow corridor squeezed between two rows of brick building to a mode that is compatible with the hutong-courtyard typology by demolishing the temporary structure to the east and in the middle, so as to introduce cross-sectional changes along the 60-meter long site. 

© Su Chen, Chun Fang
© Su Chen, Chun Fang

Then by adding 3 different types of “loggia” at the hinge of the expanded spaces, we redefined the layers in the longitudinal depth, thus reconstructed a "three-step-courtyard" in the spatial sense.

© Su Chen, Chun Fang
© Su Chen, Chun Fang

Here the "three-step-courtyard" is not an imitation of the traditional symmetrical courtyard pattern in the hutongs, but a contemporary reinterpretation of the multi-layer courtyard space and its possible variation along the depth, andhow it will shift the movement of steps and sense of space. The owner’s life - all the mixed programs, were sorted and divided by 3 courtyards full of vegetation, making the daily routine of walking in and out the site a continuous spatial experience full of rhythm. 

Detail
Detail
© Su Chen, Chun Fang
© Su Chen, Chun Fang
Detail
Detail

In the process of renovation, one might find some interesting spatial model, but in the end, it all has to integrate with the life it carries. 

© Su Chen, Chun Fang
© Su Chen, Chun Fang

Further beyond, what interested us in the renovation is how design strategy can appropriately reduce the amount of construction: using existing footprint to make small-scale buildings, using wood, brick, tile…all these local materials, using local craftsmanship but through new tectonic method, to respond to the problem in everyday scale and at the local level, so the users’ lives can unfold in it naturally. 

Plans
Plans

Intervention in the hutongs therefore needs to be based on the true understanding of life and culture, the “Aura” of a thing as Walter Benjamin pointed out, instead of rigid protection to its physical appearance.

© Su Chen, Chun Fang
© Su Chen, Chun Fang
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Courtyard near West Sea / META - Project" 16 Jan 2017. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/803359/courtyard-near-west-sea-meta-project/> ISSN 0719-8884
© Su Chen, Chun Fang

西海边的院子 / META - 工作室