The project is located in a narrow base between the West Sea east corridor and Deshengmen Inner Avenue, 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.
META-Project combed through existing structures before conducting a detailed renovation and intervention. By forming a “three-step-courtyard “in a special sense, the courtyard has created a spatial experience with multiple levels and a rhythm between void and concrete. And by carefully constructed volcanic rock, catalpa wood and tube tile, it has introduced into the courtyard a feel as if walking in the alley with rich material experiences. In order to continue the daily hutong courtyard experience into the interior space, “golden brick” flooring and grey brick walling were introduced together with dark-colored wood grid screen defining a fluidized space. Also, different “windows” have become the “transformer” linking and mutually penetrating inside and the external environment.
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. 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. 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.