C+ architects' 'stair pavilion' at beijing design week: a communal living room in beijing
C+ architects' 'stair pavilion' at beijing design week: a communal living room in beijing C+ architects' 'stair pavilion' at beijing design week: a communal living room in beijing
sep 29, 2016

C+ architects' 'stair pavilion' at beijing design week: a communal living room in beijing


beijing design week: C+ architects have unveiled their design for a regeneration project aimed at turning disused architecture in beijing into a communal living room. the project, entitled ‘stair pavilion’, is part of a wider renovation of a hutong — a traditional narrow street or alley commonly found in cities in the north of china. in beijing, the word hutong has become synonymous with community. the alleys are formed when multiple houses (called ‘siheyuan’) and their respective courtyards are constructed adjoining each other, forming a hutong. these then merge with other hutongs to form intersecting alleys and pathways: a narrow network of neighborhoods.

the plan for ‘stair pavilion’ is almost completely coterminous with that of original site



the initiative, developed by C+ architects and exhibited at beijing design week, involves taking a uninhabited siheyuan and turning it into an experimental social space, a ‘common living room’. the firm takes advantage of the original sunken ground and level difference of the siheyuan to design a series of ascending wooden steps, an upper level to be used as a gathering space for socializing, relaxing, or watching the world go by. the difference in elevation allows this upper level to also be used as a place of performance — for theater or film screenings — as well as lectures and presentations. to the right of the stairs, a passageway leads residents to the lower level — a small chamber intended to be used as a co-habitable social space, a shared living area or tea room. to alleviate any feeling of claustrophobia, the design calls for glass blocks to be used in the construction of the wall facing the courtyard, adding a sense of breathability to the lower section.

a stairway to the right leads down to the shared tea room



due to their cultural and historical status within traditional chinese cities, the redevelopment of hutongs is heavily policed and many are protected by law. eager to create a public space that would become an integrated addition to a site rather than a contemporary extension, the design of ‘stair pavilion’ is almost completely coterminous with that the existing site. the project is part of an ongoing endeavor to take meaningful advantage of communal space in increasingly crowded urban landscapes. in their brief, C+ lament the ongoing disregard for public space, where elderly residents and those seeking respite from the city are constantly disturbed by busy traffic and rush hour crowds. as part of their hutong regeneration program the studio aim to renovate and revitalize these traditional community spaces. the team propose their concept ‘separated home’; where a space such as ‘stair pavilion’ can become a shared, functional extension of one’s own property, bolstering relationships between neighbors and advocating for a stronger, more connected community.

a ‘hutong’ is a traditional narrow street in china, formed by a series of traditional residences or ‘siheyuan’

the development utilizes both the sunken basement and complete interior of the building







project info:


name: stair pavilion by C+ architects
lead architect: cheng yanchun
design team: xie bingyou, zheng yichun, wang lu, zhang ran, yang guang, chen pengyu, gu shuo
program: hutong regeneration
status: ongoing
location: no.9 tiaozhou hutong, dashilar, beijing
executor: dashilar platform



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: peter corboy | designboom


    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    architecture news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    501,537 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample