House of Passages, China by Chaoffice

Back to an “ancestral homestead”

Project Specs


非常感谢 察社办公室 予gooood分享以下内容。 更多请至:Chaoffice on gooood 
Appreciation towards Chaoffice for providing the following description:


The project site is located within the Taihang Mountains west of Beijing. Along with “House of Steps”, it is one of two projects we have recently undertaken in Junxiang Village. Relative to the location of “House of Steps”, the original site could be described as chaotic.

▼庭院旧墙朝向狭窄的胡同,the old wall of yard facing to the narrow hutong ©成直


The site, a yard, is nestled within a narrow hutong no more than 2 meters in width. The scale of the entire site is 9 meters x 20 meters. Several existing buildings and structures inhabited and filled the yard. A building to the west measured just 2.4 meters. The closest distance between buildings was less than 1 meter. When in the yard one could experience something like walking through several small “passages”; all buildings isolated from one another. The original conditions were far from what could be described as a comfortable place to live.

▼场地原貌,original situation ©察社办公室


An open space within the yard was used as a vegetable garden, continuously maintained by relatives of the client who still resided in the village. A variety of plants grew there, and enveloped the site, vines following the temperate structure above. Although the existing situation was terrible, upon first visiting the site we still found ourselves attracted by the low buildings and plants, and the space formed by their relationship.

▼庭院原貌,yard original situation ©察社办公室


The primary structure of the original yard is made up of three primary buildings and a cellar. All were built during either the early, middle, or late 20th century. Our client used to live there together with her grandparents.

▼夏日进入庭院后的场景, the first scene after entering the yard in summer ©朱雨蒙


Although not good examples of traditional buildings, or even in good shape, those buildings are kind of treasure to client, because the trace of memory carried by them. So the principle of the renovation was to keep the existing form, color, and material of the site in order for others to receive the experiences of the past, within a modern context. In this way, it is a kind of coming back to an “ancestral homestead”. Plants everywhere create different scenes in different seasons, the little ecosystem bringing unique feelings through watching, smelling, hearing, touching, and even tasting. Keeping this “garden” was another important aim for the renovation.

▼餐厅玻璃反射着庭院的景象,out side the dinning room,the window reflect the view in yard ©成直


▼动态示意图,diagram gif. ©察社办公室

▼轴测分解图,exploded axon ©察社办公室

The three primary buildings and cellar were all retained. The new buildings and structures are placed in between, and play a role as “connectors”, in addition to providing additional rooms and space. The original isolated nature of the existing buildings faded away and they were transformed into a connected “belt” type space. Bedrooms are located at the ends of the yard, while the “passage” between them next to the garden became public space. In this way, renovation can be seen as a kind of reconnecting.

▼主入口,the main entrance of buildings ©成直

▼夏日的庭院和餐厅,the yard and dinning room in summer ©成直


A new passage was also created for the ancient cellar, by using a hidden door accessed underneath a cushioned sitting area in the kitchen. After 30 years, the generous cellar could be used again, as a wine cellar, for food storage, or a secret children’s hideout.

▼“过道”里的厨房,Kitchen in the passage ©成直

▼厨房后方的沙发, Sofa at the back of kitchen ©朱雨蒙

▼沙发下的暗门,The hidden entrance under the sofa ©成直

▼带有砖供和角落照明的地窖, In the cellar, the brick arches and lights in the corner ©成直

▼地窖内部空间,In the old cellar ©朱雨蒙


The dinning room inhabited the old west building, still keeping a width of only 2.4 meters. A fixed cushioned seating area was installed along the western wall. A full sized mirror was placed between the seating area and a shelf installed on top of the wall. The eastern facade was transformed into a large glass wall, and inside and outside become one. Because of the glass wall and mirror, there is an illusion as to the scale of the space, and 2.4 meters becomes 18 meters.

▼“过道”里的餐厅,The dinning room in the passage ©朱雨蒙

▼餐厅和镜子上反射的庭院景象,Dinning room and the view of yard reflect from mirror ©成直

▼从种满植物的庭院望向餐厅,Plants in the yard and dinning room ©朱雨蒙


▼剖面透视图,sectional perspective ©察社办公室

The open yard has also benefited from the renovation. According to the section, if we ignore the boundary created by the glass wall, the landscape looks like a valley. Both ends, east and west, are higher, and the central area is lower. We used old elements harvested from the original structures to create pillars, and took a truss made up of small 3cm x 3cm steel tubes and placed it on top of these pillars. Because the steel tubes are small, when vines grow in-between leaves envelope and cover the structure. The plants cause the boundary to blur, in cooperating with the landscape, and the yard becomes an enveloped space. The experience of living in a garden can be recalled and is emphasized.

▼从庭院望向北房,in the yard looking to the north builiding ©朱雨蒙


▼剖面透视图,sectional perspective ©察社办公室

New “passages” are inhabited by the entrance, kitchen, dining room, and a small living room. As with the originally chaotic feeling carried by the yard in its original state, we wanted to deal with the relationship between old and new in a more ambiguous way. The wall and ceiling have been cut in several places, causing the ancient structures and materials to be exposed. The old, dark, blurry surfaces appear side by side with the new, bright, clear ones. In some places, behind the cutting, hidden spaces are revealed; dark corners full of unique charm. In this situation, “passages” take on the meaning of timeliness. The so called “ancient home” seems to re-present itself.

▼玻璃后的石墙,in the kitchen the original wall behind the glass ©成直

▼通往厨房的过道入口, in the entrance the passage to the kitchen ©朱雨蒙

▼入口处,过道分隔出不同的庭院,around the entrance, the passage seperate different yards ©朱雨蒙

▼内部过道,the passage in the builidng ©朱雨蒙

▼过道和花园,passage and garden ©成直

▼裸露的土墙,The original mud wall exposed ©成直


The 3 bedrooms which inhabit the corner areas of the yard each provide their own unique experiences according to the character of the original space.

▼天花板上的开口揭示出原本隐藏的结构,the hidden old structure exposed by cutting a hole in the ceiling ©成直


The north building originally functioned as the grandparents bedroom, as well as the main room for the yard. We left the space largely untouched in terms of appearance, and instead focused on integrating various new systems, two layer door and windows, a curtain system, and a lighting system. We transformed old doors, which were abundant in the yard, into the structural elements for all lighting on the ceiling.

▼北房的旧窗,the old window in the north bedroom ©朱雨蒙

▼照明系统的辅助结构由拆除的旧门扇制成,the structure of lighting system is made by original wooden door of south bedroom ©成直

▼照明系统,Lighting system ©成直

▼新窗户与旧窗户的叠加,the new and old two layers of window ©成直


The room on the southern end is in the middle between two smaller yards. Two sides of the room, as well as the ceiling of the shower, are all covered by glass. In this way, people can truly feel that they are living within a garden.

▼位于两个小院子之间的卧室,the bedroom in the middle between two small gardens ©朱雨蒙

▼南房卧室和洗手间通过既有的庭院石墙分隔, in the south bedroom, the wall between toilet and bed room is the original stone wall in yard ©成直

▼老石墙, the old stone wall ©成直

▼浴室的玻璃天顶,the ceilling of the bathroom is a piece of glass ©成直


▼通往阁楼的楼梯,stairway to the loft ©成直

The eastern building takes up a very small area, which was formerly used as a storage room. The new steel structure lifts up the roof creating a new attic, which plays the role as the third bedroom. Since the building is higher than the outside wall of the yard post renovation, the attic space represents an additional volume on top of the old wall, and becomes a unique characteristic easily noticed by passersby in the small hutong. At night, the lights emanating from the attic act as an additional source of light for the hutong below.

▼阁楼内的第三间卧室,the third bedroom is in the loft ©成直

▼阁楼东面的窗户朝向胡同,east window of the loft facing to the hutong ©朱雨蒙


“Garden” and “Ancestral Homestead”, in the case of “House of Passages”, made up a very complex contextual topic as we tried to understand how we could establish a sense of connection. “Passage” became the carrier for this, and the continuity which we focused on for so long was born from it. However it is still not powerful enough to rule all invisible intentions. Ultimately, we’ve found a new way of thinking via embracing the irrational and chaotic.

▼从胡同望向阁楼,east window of the loft facing to the hutong ©朱雨蒙

▼阁楼西面的窗户朝向庭院,west window of the loft facing to the yard ©朱雨蒙

▼模型,model ©察社办公室

▼总平面图,master plan ©察社办公室

▼平面图,floor plans ©察社办公室

▼剖面图1,section 1 ©察社办公室

▼剖面图2,section 2 ©察社办公室

▼剖面图3,section 3 ©察社办公室

项目名称:过道之家 – 大有19
项目设计 & 完成年份:2019 – 2020
结构顾问:高雪梅 / 灯光顾问:闵月波
客户:大有 19 – 刘菲
北京光森林照明科技有限公司 – 文高照明灯具

More:察社办公室。 更多请至:Chaoffice on gooood

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