instant hutong/ramoprimo catalogs the architectural materials of beijing
images courtesy of instant hutong/ramoprimo

 

 

 

during beijing design week 2015, a wide range of local and international architecture practices sought to rejuvenate and enliven historic hutong districts through structural interventions and social action. rather than imagining a proposal for the areas’ future uses, instant hutong/ramoprimo — the collaboration of italian architects marcella campa and stefano avesani — instead look to the architectural foundations of the traditional dwellings that occupy beijing’s landmarked sites. 

beijing design week instant-hutong-ramoprimo-hutong-materials-catalogue
the ‘hutong materials catalogue’ documents, organizes and rethinks construction materials used for hutongs

 

 

 

exhibited in the dashilar district, the ‘hutong materials catalogue’ project documents, organizes and rethinks the construction materials and patterns of the ancient city center. the research focuses on the building habits of local people and the material markets that are dotting the peripheries of the city. at these marketplaces, campa and avesani looked for bricks of varying sizes, special pieces and uncommon architectural items. these architectural elements were selected and recombined with new mediums, like glass, wood, bricks, metal, mirror, plastic, to create unexpected combinations and unique construction patterns.

beijing design week instant-hutong-ramoprimo-hutong-materials-catalogue
the research focuses on the building habits of local people

 

 

 

throughout the course of the research, the two architects formed a deeper understanding of the basic elements that build a major part of beijing’s urban environment: bricks. the simple square brick, the decorated, the carved and the lacquered, are each infinitely repeated and layered with unlimited variations. the idea of carving into and ornamenting clay — one so different from western cultures, where decoration is traditionally engraved into a more durable material — embodies the philosophy and thinking of chinese people, reflecting the way they look at objects and concepts like durability, materials, perception and design.

beijing design week instant-hutong-ramoprimo-hutong-materials-catalogue
the architects sourced the building elements at material markets around beijing

 

 

 

campa and avesani aim to use the research to mobilize an open interactive workshop in the form of a large study platform, with the intention to create a catalogue that would be used as a reference tool for future construction in the neighborhood.

beijing design week instant-hutong-ramoprimo-hutong-materials-catalogue
the two architects formed a deeper understanding beijing’s brickwork

beijing design week instant-hutong-ramoprimo-hutong-materials-catalogue
the cataloge is presented at beijing design week 2015 in the dashilar district

beijing design week instant-hutong-ramoprimo-hutong-materials-catalogue
the exhibit displays different types of bricks: the simple square brick, decorated,  carved and lacquered

beijing design week instant-hutong-ramoprimo-hutong-materials-catalogue
different materials are paired together to create unique and novel combinations

beijing design week instant-hutong-ramoprimo-hutong-materials-catalogue
special materials found at the market were collected and documented

beijing design week instant-hutong-ramoprimo-hutong-materials-catalogue
intricate patterning is engraved directly into the clay bricks

beijing design week instant-hutong-ramoprimo-hutong-materials-catalogue
the bricks are interspersed with blue trim and mesh, forming a unique combination of mediums

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lime green plastic is sandwiched between the engraved bricks

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metal sheets meet a rectangular grey brick configuration

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the materials are reconfigured, forming new geometries

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metals are combined with clay bricks

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the clay brick: the most basic element of architecture in beijing hutongs