located in the hutong of the narrow dongsi north street in beijing‘s dongcheng district, this renovation project by DAGA architects aims at finding a balance between the modern and the traditional. titled transparent hutong no.3, the house is built as a glass box, which allows plenty of natural light to enter its 20 sqm interior, while the large windows maximize the landscape value of this ancient building typology.
all images by wu tou
following various hutong renovations during the past two years, DAGA architects was invited by beijing TV’s nuannuandexinjia program again, to redesign the new project, in order to improve the life quality of the owners.‘the primary problem of the transformation is to leave privacy in the narrow space where many people live,’ notes the studio, ‘the first step is to rearrange the original space and organize the sequence relationships between both public and private spaces.’
the glass box structure forms a strong contrast with the old bricks, in a metaphoric gesture of the conflict and symbiosis between the historical and modern era. through ingenious design techniques, the architects have created enough space for the daily living, work, study and entertainment of the owners – a couple with one child and their cat – injecting new energy and lifestyles into the old house. the kitchen and living room are combined in one area, which is painted white in order to make the whole room appear more spacious, bright and tidy. customized storage shelves integrate the two spaces and make full use of the built-in storage space, and have been placed on one side of the room to allow the open atrium to be the public area of the household.
white is still selected as main color of the master bedroom area, while pulley tracks are installed to separate it from other functional spaces, therefore solving the privacy problem. by using the curtain as an outer shell, the texture of the space and the volume of the atmosphere have been improved. the bathroom area is paved by white bricks, concise and neatly arranged to reflect elegance of the design. the bathroom leads straight up to the roof , where a fully automatic skylight has been installed, allowing family members to enjoy the scenery at night time.
simple and slender stairs divide the upper and lower spaces of the house. below the stairs is a private area for the cat, while the attic of the house is an independent bedroom for the child, which is also painted in white just like other areas. for the courtyard, the combination of glass bricks and the old traditional bricks has been used to separate the owner’s house from neighboring structures. while lights glow warmly through the thick glass bricks, they emit a halo effect which can be seen clearly when night falls. in contrast to traditional houses, the climbable roof is added to indicate new forms of design. the steel frame ladder that leads up to it can also be used as a drying rack.
name: transparent hutong no.3
architects: DAGA architects
team: shen jianghai, li shaoyi, wang xiaohan, yin aili
soft loading design: yu xiaoyu, fang tingqiu, ma weixuan
covered area: 20 sqm
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