Beijing’s hutongs (the iconic alleyways of ancient China) are no stranger to adaptive reuse. We’ve seen the winged courtyard houses that flank the alleys (siheyuan) renovated into everything from boutique shops to restaurants, but ARCHSTUDIO’s recent hutong transformation in Beijing stands out from the pack. The Chinese architects retained the historic Qing Dynasty-era facade but transformed the interior into a beautifully bright and modern teahouse.
Visitors who stroll down the narrow and winding hutongs will be in for a big surprise when they step inside ARCHSTUDIO’s ‘Tea House in Hutong.’ Once a derelict housing complex, the 100+ year-old, 450-square-meter structure is now a gorgeous teahouse that blends traditional styles with a modern aesthetic. The architects began their renovation process by carefully repairing the buildings’ distinctive sloping tiled roofs and brickwork, and by replacing a pair of decayed timber structures.
While the facade was restored to its traditional looks, the interior was partly gutted and replaced with white curving corridors that tie the different spaces in the L-shaped floor plan together. Glass curtain walls framing pockets of bamboo punctuate the interior and flood the space with natural light and views of nature and historic architecture. Exposed brickwork and timber beams reinforce the connection to the building’s traditional facade. Private tearooms are grouped around the courtyards.
“The gallery of the traditional architecture takes a half inside, half outside form, scattered high and low, significantly increasing the beauty of the garden,” write the architects. “Additionally, the steel structure beam column that replaces the decayed wood in the old building brings forth an overlapping series of old and new images, making the new and old grow together.”
Images via ARCHSTUDIO