Thanks to an efficient prefab modular system inserted into the existing building, this courtyard house in Beijing, China, looks and functions as a house-within-a-house. Beijing-based People's Architecture Office (PAO) created an inexpensive solution for renovation projects that doesn't involve tearing things down, but is based on inserting prefab elements into existing buildings. The implementation of the house-within-a-house approach, using Plugin modules which can be assembled in a day, played a pivotal role in the renewal initiative in the historic core of Beijing.
The award winning prefab modular system is aimed at urban regeneration and is the main feature of the Dashilar Project, an urban revival initiative targeting a famous traditional commercial street in Beijing located south of Tienanmen Square. Since its implementation, the project has become a significant local attraction as part of a policy of urban planning.
The entire Plugin structure can be assembled by a few people in one day and requires no special skills or training. Its panels are light, easy to handle and inexpensive to ship, and are made of a composite that incorporates structure, insulation, wiring, plumbing, windows, doors and interior and exterior finishes.
Plugin offers options for handling sewage-it can include septic tanks that expel grey water and waterless compositing toilets. The system can be used to build mezzanines and expandable rooms by opening the Plugins by sliding, tilting outwards and upwards.