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Hutong: The Latest Architecture and News

The Hutong Renovation in Beijing: Reimagining Tiny Spaces in a Historic Neighbourhood

For centuries, Hutongs have been recognized as one of the most treasured types of vernacular housing in China. Witnessing the cultural and historical transformation in Beijing ever since the Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368), the name Hutong is derived from a Mongolian word that means ‘water well’. In fact, this term was given to small streets that originated during the Yuan Dynasty when the emperor attempted to organize the urban fabric in a grid-like pattern in order to manage properly property ownership and to form an efficient transit system.

“BEFORE/AFTER”: An Architectural Documentation of Urban Changes in Hutongs

“BEFORE/AFTER” documents the drastic changes, both physical and psychological, which took place during the renovation of Beijing’s Fangjia Hutong in the months between April and September 2017. In 2019, OPEN Architecture was invited to participate in “Unknown City: China Contemporary Architecture and Image Exhibition”, the opening exhibition of the Pingshan Art Museum, with their work “BEFORE/AFTER”.

Best Modern Examples of Ancient Courtyard Renovations in China

Chinese courtyard houses are one of the most common housing typologies spanning all the way from the northern capital of Beijing to the poetic southern cities Hangzhou and back to the picturesque regions of Yunnan. Typically referred as heyuan, these courtyards homes are simply a “yard enclosed on four sides."

Micro-Yuan’er / ZAO/standardarchitecture. Image © Mingming ZhangCave House in Loess Plateau / hyperSity Architects. Image Courtesy of hyperSity ArchitectsFuchun Kosa Zou Ma Lou / Atelier Archmixing. Image Courtesy of Atelier ArchmixingTwisting Courtyard / ARCHSTUDIO. Image © Weiqi Jin + Ning Wang+ 18

Micro-Hutong / standardarchitecture

© Shengliang Su© Zhang Yanping© Zhang Mingming© Shengliang Su+ 49

Beijing, China
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  30
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2013

The MaoHaus / AntiStatics Architecture

MaoHaus Exterior. Image © Xia Zhi
MaoHaus Exterior. Image © Xia Zhi

MaoHaus Night. Image © Xia ZhiMaoHaus Exterior. Image © Xia ZhiMaoHaus Detail. Image © Xia ZhiMaoHaus Site. Image © Xia Zhi+ 52

Beijing, China

Ten Courtyard House / Atelier ZAI

Public courtyard. Image © Kunpeng Liu
Public courtyard. Image © Kunpeng Liu

Courtyard added after renovation. Image © Kunpeng LiuEntrance front yard. Image © Kunpeng LiuRestaurant and workspace. Image © Kunpeng LiuViewing public courtyard from room courtyard. Image © Kunpeng Liu+ 24

Beijing, China
  • Architects: Atelier ZAI
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  280
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2017

Dwelling in Hutong / MINOR lab

office space. Image © Hao Chenguestroom. Image © Hao Chencourtyard view. Image © Hao Chenview from roof top to the courtyard (in autumn). Image © Yichi Wang+ 31

  • Architects: MINOR lab
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  115
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2017
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers: HAINING GENSIN, colorpanel

Revitalizing Theatrical Hutongscape / MINOR lab

side view of office space at ground level. Image © Hao Chenexhibition space. Image © Yi-Chi Wangview from exhibition space to office through courtyard. Image © Hao Chenfront view from hutong. Image © Hao Chen+ 48

  • Architects: MINOR lab
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  255
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2018
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers: Covestro Polymers, SHUOLOONG, SIMEY

10000/1 OFFICE / O architecture

Night view. Image © Weiqi Jin
Night view. Image © Weiqi Jin

Glass passages. Image © Weiqi JinCourtyard. Image © Weiqi JinOffice. Image © Weiqi JinDoorway. Image © Weiqi Jin+ 24

  • Architects: O architecture
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  130
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2018
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers: 北京金阳不锈钢, 北京金鹏门窗, 圣吉利, 安平丝网制品厂, 简悦, +1

Han Wenqiang of ARCHSTUDIO: “Let’s Call My Work the Art of Coordination”

Throughout the work of Beijing-based practice ARCHSTUDIO, there is a constant feeling of sensitivity to culture and history. That is not to say that the firm’s designs are not modern—far from it in fact—but that the work of founder Han Wenqiang infuses modern materials and forms with a distinctly Chinese sensibility, that is just as apparent in his designs for a food packaging facility as it is in a Buddhist shrine (incidentally, both designs which won ArchDaily Building of the Year Awards, in 2017 and 2018 respectively). In the latest interview from his “City of Ideas” series, Vladimir Belogolovsky speaks to Han about whether architecture is an art form and what it means to create “Chinese” architecture in the 21st century.

Haitang Villa, 2015. Image © Magic PennyTangshan Organic Farm, 2015. Image © Weiqi JinTwisting Courtyard, 2017. Image © Weiqi JinWaterside Buddhist Shrine, 2017. Image © Weiqi Jin+ 53

XianXian Inn / penda

© Xia Zhi
© Xia Zhi

© Xia Zhi© Xia Zhi© Xia Zhi© Xia Zhi+ 30

  • Interior Designers: penda
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  1000
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2017

Beijing ‘Tsuo’ / Wonder Architects

Collecting’ views. Image © Haiting SunInteraction between the rocks and our living space. Image © Haiting SunThe views corresponding with the space. Image © Haiting SunThe views corresponding with the space. Image © Haiting Sun+ 32

Xicheng Qu, China
  • Architects: Wonder Architects
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  100
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2017

A Hutong Home Renovation / CAA

© Huo Cheng © Huo Cheng © Huo Cheng © Huo Cheng + 27

Beijing, China
  • Architects: CAA
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  90
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2016

Reviving Beijing's Hutongs with Micro Installations

The Guardian's Oliver Wainwright documents the current trend of micro-scale installations spurring new life into the historic hutongs of Beijing and gaining support from the local communities, eager to reject the economic pressures of destroying/rebuilding. The local government’s endorsement, however, comes as a surprise - especially considering its fervent impetus to raze these areas just a few years ago. Read the full article here: Designers Use 'Urban Acupuncture' to Revive Beijing's Historic Hutongs.