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

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

    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