In response to Beijing’s lack of architectural variety, Seoul-based firm Wonder Architects have renovated a traditional hutong dwelling to create the ‘Tsou’ residence — both preserving and updating an icon of Chinese architecture.
The term ‘hutong’ refers to the alleyways formed by lines of the traditional courtyard houses that once populated Beijing. As a result of the contemporary housing crisis, traditional hutongs have been replaced by concrete towers which lack in individuality. In order to preserve a part of Beijing’s architectural history, Wonder Architects have utilized the framework of the original hutong structure and renovated it to produce an open, light and modern home. The layout of the dwelling has been re-designed to maximise space: where once was a communal courtyard now houses private residence. Further courtyard gardens have been extended to blur the boundaries between the architecture and the landscape. As such, large rocks adorn the internal and external spaces, mirroring that of the building’s stone facade. By dividing singular spaces, Wonder Architects have redefined the narrative experience of the home, offering a new spatial adventure for the inhabitants and their visitors.