When it comes to residential design in Beijing, there’s no form more iconic than the traditional hutong courtyard house. After Yang Liu of the Chinese firm DL Atelier was commissioned to renovate a century-old example, he pledged to preserve its history – or, rather, histories. Look closely at the Guozijian Hutong House and you’ll see grey bricks from the original structure, red bricks from a decades-old renovation and the roots of an ancient tree. This mix-and-match aesthetic reappears throughout the home.
For instance, the architect used two structural systems – a concrete frame in the bottom level and wood beams above – and outfitted the historic building with modern amenities, such as double walls, air conditioning and a state-of-the-art drainage system. These juxtapositions may seem striking, but they speak to the nature of hutong design – a tradition of adaptation and renewal spanning multiple generations.
Project Guozijian Hutong House Location Beijing, China Firm DL Atelier, China Team Yang Liu with Mohuai Hu, Sisi Liu, Hui Bao and Ni Yang