Beijing Hutong by Archiplein

Beijing currently faces a huge problem of urban regeneration and extreme construction density ; in order for the ancient city to evolve and welcome the new architectural era, some things need to go, some will have to stay intact and most importantly, some others will need to adapt into the present circumstances. Beijing Hutong is clearly a project which highlights the need of adaptation and transformation.

Beijing Hutong #1 by Archiplein

©Archiplein

Beijing Hutong is a building intervention which reflects its surrounding situation as well as a result of the challenging yet very elegant and careful design approach that was carried out by Archiplein.

Beijing Hutong #1 by Archiplein

©Theophile Seyrig

Originally, the building followed a traditional but somehow chaotic urban typology. Formerly structured around a clear empty square space, the architects discovered a courtyard which found itself colonized by a multitude of micro self-constructed buildings because of the space needs. This sort of problematic urban morphology made the old structure almost unreadable.

Beijing Hutong #1 by Archiplein

©Theophile Seyrig

Archiplein successfully resolved the building’s problematic issues by proposing a modest and economic intervention that provided an alternative and efficient use of space. The architects’ intervention destroyed these problematic micro-units in order to define a new void that would eventually be redesigned to become the new addition.

Beijing Hutong #1 by Archiplein

Plan ©Archiplein

Essentially Beijing Hutong includes three interventions: the rehabilitation of the existing building, a new extension and the treatment of the courtyard. Archiplein successfully detached any stylistic architectural expression from the new structure and avoided any mimetic design method; competing with past or reproducing it was certainly not part of the agenda here.

Beijing Hutong #1 by Archiplein

©Theophile Seyrig

Beijing Hutong #1 by Archiplein

©Theophile Seyrig

This intervention is all about transformation through understanding and preserving elements of the past while creating new ones in the meantime; Beijing Hutong is a fine example of smooth co-existence.

Beijing Hutong #1 by Archiplein

©Theophile Seyrig

Beijing Hutong #1 by Archiplein

©Theophile Seyrig

Archiplein’s new design is full of references of the materials and form of the past they transformed. References such as the sharp geometry we find on the roof structural pattern, the window  as well as the opening system in the new structure, all redefine the notion of the past while the capture the essence of present –day living.

Beijing Hutong #1 by Archiplein

©Archiplein

Beijing Hutong #1 by Archiplein

©Archiplein

 

Words: Ivi Vassilopoulou

 


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