christian taeubert converts a 45 sqm hutong into a big family dwelling with clean indoor air

christian taeubert converts a 45 sqm hutong into a big family dwelling with clean indoor air

in a courtyard located just a stone’s throw away form tiananmen in the dashilar district of beijing, a 45 square meter refurbished house has been designed to accommodate three generations. apart from the challenge of having a large number of occupants within a rather small area, architect christian taeubert set out to create a well-performing building envelope unfamiliar to most hutong homes in the region.

the apartment hosts a family of 6
all images © boris shiu



in order to avoid the inherent problems of deteriorated hutong houses — such as notoriously damp floors and walls — christian taeubert developed the ‘house in house’ concept. the existing dwelling was in a very poor condition, and was thus stripped down to its bare structure. its only remaining purpose was to simply protect the new site from the rain.

the old structure cover the new one from the rain



apart from re-designing the house, the owners were provided with one of the most essential needs in beijing: clean indoor air! the new house is executed with 100mm of continuous insulation — including the floor. high quality windows keep the envelope as air-tight as possible. however, an air tight envelope requires controlled ventilation in order to prevent a stale air environment, as well as possible moisture in the walls.

the kitchen



the installed energy recovery ventilation system ensures a comfortable room climate and a controlled flow of clean air. with its energy recovery function, the system ensures cooling and heating throughout the year, reducing the overall energy consumption of the house.

there are 4 bedrooms in the apartment



the ownership of the yard had previously been divided among five parties in the past, and was mainly used for storage. due to the complicated social condition of the neighbourhood, the exterior of the new house was designed as an introverted façade, as the courtyard could not be utilized as a quality space for social gathering.

the living room



internally, apart from four bedrooms, the small dwelling offers a living room, dining room, mezzanine reading room, kitchen and bathroom. two new skylights provide additional daylight. the ‘house in house’ concept allowed for a contemporary look of the new space by avoiding the existing interfaces of the dilapidated building.

details of the interior

one of the bedrooms

the bathroom


project info:


designers: sun min, fashion designer, label uzo.min; christian taeubert, architect
construction time: 50 days
photo credits: boris shiu (unless stated otherwise)
paintings: xiang xiang, 5 years old, son of the owners

    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
    502,393 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample