frédéric schnee creates patterns of different-colored bricks for the peach house in beijing

frédéric schnee creates patterns of different-colored bricks for the peach house in beijing

a courtyard house in northern china constitutes a form of housing which is the result of a long process of interaction between the built form and social, economic, and cultural needs and habits. germany-based architect frédéric schnee pays a tribute to chinese architectural traditions and the site’s historical value with his newly-designed brick ‘peach house’ in beijing.



the task of building a new courtyard house required to examine and engage with modes of life in rural areas of beijing. an extended analysis of the specific building type, the built environment, the social and historical context and finally the requirements for the new use were absolutely essential prior to the design process. in a preliminary study, the site and its previous buildings were retraced and documented through a graphic reconstruction to understand its layout and function. a timeline starting from the 1950s reveals the different states and transformations the site and buildings underwent. one of the most important characteristics of the courtyard house is its flexibility in accommodating growth and change.



schnee’s objective was to build a new courtyard house, by lifting the courtyard and creating a space for a convenience store on the ground floor. the ground floor level was lowered and a new concrete slab poured inside the existing building for the upper floor. to follow traditional room layouts and build according to the principles of feng shui, the new floor plan was modelled as a typical courtyard house in northern china. special attention had to be paid to the angle and grate of the layout, the positioning of columns and openings to meet all requirements. the building is arranged on a north-south oriented lot, with the main pavilion facing south. the access gate is situated in the south-east corner according to traditional layouts. ceiling heights and spacing had to follow a specific hierarchy. the layout of the elevated courtyard is introverted to ensure privacy in the courtyard and that of adjacent houses.



the blue and grey brick is historically prevalent in beijing and the northeastern region of china, but is less and less used for various reasons nowadays. cheaper red bricks are mostly used in self-built housing today. the facade design with two different brick colors dissipates the contrast and creates a balance. moreover, visible scorch marks on red bricks merge the two tones.








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: maria erman | 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
    502,536 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample