xian architects has renovated a traditional courtyard house from the seventies, located in a secluded corner of the cashikou village, nearby the northern part of the great wall of china. surrounded by a forest of chestnut trees, the original, small-scale structure includes one living room and two bedrooms of broad proportions, while other buildings in the inner courtyard have been newly constructed.

the dining room is part of the newly constructed additions



‘we hope the building can have an intrinsic and sophisticated response to both its interior and exterior conditions,’ mention the architects, who have treated the renovation with utmost respect to the existing structure. by decreasing the depth of the building, and lowering the frame, the design ensures the wideness of northern farm houses while maintaining the grandeur of the main structure. in the outer courtyard, the original vegetable sheds and fields have been transformed into resting platforms and gardens, while the water sink has been lifted to suggest a kind of ritual. on the east side, the original storage has been changed into a workshop and tea room, all done in a non-invasive way, using bricks, woodwork and roof made with the finest local craft. 

the water sink on the platform of the outer courtyard

the semi-open platform is located under a steel tank on the roof, which creates a dim space with great ventilation

the dining room faces the old house and the east mountain

a gap between the study and the stone wall of the northern village road creates a central and dim corner

with the use of heated kang (a long platform traditional in regions of the northern part of china), the house can well survive a severe winter

this private courtyard is part of the new construction work

the upper platform between the two blocks acts as a viewing terrace

the bricks, woodwork and roof are all made with the finest local craft

the 80 cm projecting cornice ensures sufficient sunlight during winter and a cool interior in summer

the house in its surroundings during wintertime



originally, interior walls, ceilings, and windows were all covered with paper



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: sofia lekka angelopoulou | designboom

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