Hutong is the place for local residence to assembly and communicate in traditional Beijing culture. Architecture, nature and people coexist with each other in the floating space. C+ Architects starts with the “public space” to redefine the gathering space conveying by a simple format in Hutong and creating a new life experience for local residence in the renovation project.
“Common Living Room in Hutong” “Stair Pavilion” renovated from a former opposite house of Siheyuan, as the “common living room in Hutong”, which is an experimental social space to enhance the quality of life. The architect takes advantage of the original sunken ground and level difference of Hutong to design wood steps for relaxation. The apparatus vertically creates two spaces to make fully use of space. The upper part as a public activity space facing the alley, recall the function of Hutong as a common living space. Users could relax, playing, chatting on stairs. Meanwhile, steps seems like the extension of the ground to enclose a valley space with opposite wall, which create a great opportunity for having small scale activities such as holding lectures and watching movies. Because of the height limit under the steps, the lower part would use as tearoom. For targeted people, the tearoom serves as living room as well. The space has a separated entrance, ensuring the privacy of other residences. The wall facing the courtyard is made of glass blocks to avoid the uncomfortable feeling caused by a solid wall. At dusk, the soft light illuminates the courtyard from tearoom. The roof of Stair Pavilion maintains the original shape and height to keep the scale of Hutong. In terms of material, the architect choose lightweight gray metal tile that could keep the original roof texture in harmony with surroundings and evoke the communication between traditional and modern materials.
“Separated Home” Expect for the project, we propose an idea of “separated home” regarding the Hutong regeneration program. With disappearing of courtyard houses, the messy courtyard houses gradually occupy Hutong. Many local residents live in a really small space that only have part functions of a house. Therefore, some functional space gradually spills into Hutong. However, the limited space in Hutong caused by historical reasons obstructs the development of Hutong. There are quantities of conflicts when using the Hutong. Exposed hangers, messy public toilets and senior citizens chatting and playing chess disturbed by vehicle and people. The idea of “separated home” by separating the functional space and inserting into Hutong to satisfy the needs. The idea of home is no longer a house; it can be a space or a district. Local residence could use the functional public space as a part of their own home. “Stair Pavilion” as the first component of “separated home” concept becomes the “common living room in Hutong”. Meantime, it is also a space apparatus and new landscape in Hutong. Furthermore, “time” is an essential element in Hutong regeneration. New life in Hutong will be achieved by gradually renovation. Each functional space of “separated home” would be added with needs.