Beijing-based Arch Studio has revamped a traditional hutong into a beautiful complex wrapped in a winding grey and white walkway that seamlessly connects the interior with the exterior. The fittingly-named Twisting Courtyard house features a variety of multi-use spaces centered around a serene open-air environment.
Located in Beijing’s Dashilanr district, the hutong featured a traditional Siheyun layout with various historic buildings arranged around a central courtyard. Although many of these centuries-old areas have been demolished to make way for new construction, Arch Studio’s design sought to use the existing layout to create the ultra-modern living space as an homage to the site’s long history.
A traditional gate leads visitors into the central courtyard, where an undulating walkway made of white pebbles and grey-brick paving winds its way around the buildings. The striking pavement even curves upwards over the walls and roofs, creating a seamless connection between the timber-clad buildings.
“The design aims at getting rid of the solemn and stereotyped impression given by Siheyuan, and creating an open and active living atmosphere,” explained the studio. “Based on the existing layout of the courtyard, the undulating floor is used to connect indoor and outdoor spaces of different height.”
The new complex is designed to be used as a private residence or multi-use space for work or entertainment. The private buildings house a kitchen, office, and bathroom, which are located under the large curved roof. The communal areas all have large floor-to-ceiling windows that look out over the serene courtyard while providing the interior with natural light. On one side of the courtyard, built-in furniture is integrated into the timber walls to create flexible spaces that can be hidden when not in use.
Photography by Wang Ning & Jin Weiqi