maison h's sharing courtyard in beijing delivers unseen vistas of the hutong experience

maison h's sharing courtyard in beijing delivers unseen vistas of the hutong experience

maison h’s ‘baitasi sharing courtyard’ is located in beijing’s historic center, in an area full of hutong laneways and ancient courtyards. it’s a hands-on academic project, conceived by master students from tsinghua university, in which they investigate how to ‘lever social change in china through design’. students deal with issues from a grounded, built reality, which complements what they learn in the design studio. surrounded by authentic hutong life, the proximity of the site to the white pagoda temple provided a unique experience for students to investigate.

sunset seen atop of the sharing courtyard



after starting with an eight-week long urban design studio called sharing cities, the local government allocated a dilapidated courtyard for chinese based practice maison h to regenerate, as a test case for the student’s ideas. the design has been inspired by the opportunity to bring a new perspective to the traditional hutong experience. people can now explore the courtyard in three dimensions, including quiet corners, a skywalk and small amphitheater, and is implemented as a usable addition to the neighborhood, not as an abstract stand-alone installation.

visitors viewing the pavilion on opening day



the new structure creates a very direct connection with the renovated courtyard house and opens up never-before seen perspectives. this has allowed visitors to interact with the traditional architecture very close-up, including a skywalk and tea-drinking platform offering amazing sunset views of the temple — an elevated view of the buddhist white pagoda that has been standing quietly above the neighborhood since the 13th century, or yuan dynasty.

seating area and tea drinking spot between the roofs



the sharing cities studio aims to provide urban and architectural proposals to emerging concepts of sharing and responds to the idea of public space sharing and sustainable urban development from social, economic and humanitarian perspectives. the studio emphasizes a holistic and collaborative approach and the project is a physical example of this abstract idea. after the urban design studio, the students worked within the tutor’s architecture practice to combine their research and ideas into a singular design intervention for the courtyard, build together with a local contractor.

spectacular view towards the white pagoda temple



understanding the social impact of a design is critical for architecture education, and by seeing a project through from drawing to actual construction, students learn that their ideas can change the world around them. maison h’s ‘baitasi sharing courtyard’ has been unveiled at the opening of beijing design week 2017 and visited by countless visitors over the course of the week. the courtyard addition has been especially enjoyed by the surrounding residents as an interactive addition to their neighborhood; for young and old.

seating on top of the platform

the courtyard addition has been especially enjoyed by the surrounding residents

students learn that their ideas can change the world around them

night time view into the exhibition spaces under the platform

dusk view towards the white pagoda temple

neighborhood section

perspective view of floor plan

perspective view of section



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: apostolos costarangos | designboom

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