MINOR lab completes three-part brick residence for multi-generation family in beijing

MINOR lab completes three-part brick residence for multi-generation family in beijing

‘Residence of Three Generations’ by MINOR lab 


Located in a village on the outskirts of Beijing, ‘Residence of Three Generations’ is a shared family home spanning 230 sqm. Chinese practice MINOR lab was commissioned by a couple back in 2019 to renovate the dwelling belonging to the wife’s family.


‘It was the residence of her family when she was a child. Being away for many years, the couple now wants to return to village life. Their parents and her younger sister’s family of three will be living here on a daily basis. The clients who live in the city will come here on weekends to reunite with the others and experience village life,’ writes the studio.


Most houses in the village are built as 1-2-story courtyard houses using brick masonry, temporary thermal insulation boards, and corrugated steel sheets for space expansion. Hoping that the new construction will integrate and grow out of the original village texture, both client and lead architect Chen Liu naturally agreed on building with taupe brick cladding and crowning the home with a sloping roof. 

residence of three generations 2
view from village entrance



The resulting house periphery is solid, heavy, and private. MINOR lab (see more here) also ensured that the sloping roof did not obstruct neighboring buildings. ‘We tried to sort out the needs of the seven occupants as well as get feedback from the neighbors, hoping that the space can be the extension of the occupants’ memories, current perception, and imagination of ideal life,’ explains the studio.


Considering each family member’s habits and daily needs, the ‘Residence of Three Generations’ is composed of three relatively independent volumes, each occupied by a sub-family and linked through interior circulation. Populating the spaces are four separate bedroom suites with bathrooms, a shared living room and kitchen.

residence of three generations 3
front view



Out of respect for traditions, the parents’ suite is located on the north side of the courtyard, facing south, adjacent to younger sister’s suite which features a sliding reeded glass window facing the landscaped corridor on the side of the atrium. MINOR lab designed that corridor to be completely open when needed, thus extending the interior space outwards. The nephew’s room, meanwhile, is an attic-like space on the second floor, right above the parents’ suite.


The elder sister’s family suite is relatively more independent, featuring its own lounge, tea room, and reading room. The massing of this suite is 0.9 meters lower than the others, creating a more comfortable ceiling height and establishing a sophisticated spatial relationship with the courtyard. Theinterior double-height gable wall initially functions as a readable elevation; it also defines the active lounge and tea room on the first floor. A steel staircase attaches to it, extending to the second floor as a bridge between the reading room and bedroom.

residence of three generations 4
front yard of ‘Residence of Three Generations’



blurring private and public boundaries 


Moving on to the courtyard, MINOR lab configured this area as the visual center of each living space. It is complemented by a front yard, two small patios, and several peripheral yards that permeate between a two-meter-tall boundary wall and the interior space.


The boundary is sometimes merged with the building volume and sometimes peeled off, creating opportunities for the interior space to open up, providing ventilation, natural lighting, and ever-changing landscape and views of the four seasons. A brick staircase extends from the wall to the roof terrace. The living room’s glazed north and south facades extend the front yard and atrium to the indoors. Two patios on the east and west sides introduce nature and lighting in between the two bedrooms and living room. This ambiguity blurs the lines between private and public, dissolves isolation, encourages sharing and positive interactions,’ elaborates the team.


Furthermore, branches of a maple tree in the courtyard go all the way to the roof terrace, inviting nature at different heights. The building and courtyard trees also form a front view blocking the surrounding noise. Circulation-wise, the team set up one indoor and one outdoor public passage leading to the rooftop, and a private indoor circulation route leading from the elder sister’s suite. ‘Everyone can choose their way to the patio without disturbing others,’ adds MINOR lab. 

residence of three generations 5




residence of three generations 10
elder sister’s bedroom

residence of three generations 11
elder sister’s lounge space






project info:


name: Residence of Three Generations
architecture: MINOR lab

client: confidential

duration: 02.2019 – 01.2022

site area: 212 sqm

gross building area: 230 sqm 

project location: Beijing, China

design principal: Chen Liu

project architect: Wei Zhao 
structural engineer: PAN Congjian

contractor: Beijing Jingyueyuan Construction Co., Ltd.
lighting consultant: SELTY Lighting
structure system: reinforced concrete

design team: Dan Zhao, Kai Zhang, Jiayi Li,  Weixi Jin, Zhengxin Fang, Mengxian He, Junjie Fu, Masa Xu, Yueh-Ta Tsai, Tsen-Han Lin 
main materials: exposed concrete, brick, clay roof tile, aluminum alloy window & door system with insulated glazing, precast terrazzo panel, timber floor, plywood, paint

photography: Hao Chen, MINOR lab




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: lea zeitoun | designboom

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