dot Architects has created several prefabricated modules for a sharing courtyard in Baitasi ancient hutong area, Beijing.Being a traditional unique folk house in the hutongs, Beijing courtyard has a long history in Chinese architecture. Since 1950s, the ownership of courtyard house was converted from private to public, therefore the residents started to self-build illegal constructions inside the courtyards. These sheds attached to the old courtyard house, functioned as kitchen, toilet and outdoor storage to ameliorate the shortage of basic living facilities. After decades of spontaneous growth, courtyard house are infiltrated by self-built sheds, led to a cluster of irregular constructions which is named “Da Zayuan”, or Sharing Courtyards. The sharing courtyards have deteriorated the ancient hutongs, what once was traditional heritage site now becomes slums. Baitasi prefabricated modules aim to solve this problem by offering temporary living facilities to replace the illegal construction.
▼预装配式卫生间外观，prefabricated bathroom exterior view
dot Architects has to address two seemingly contradictory issues: local residents want more space in the courtyard, and governmental agency has to remove all the illegal constructions. The design outcome is a set of prefabricated modules, placed in the sharing courtyard where those illegal sheds were once stood, and functioned as living facilities for those people living there.
▼从院子看卫生间，looking bathroom from courtyard
The cylindrical bathroom is a wifi-controlled smart cube which has an integrated sanitary ware inside. The cube has a sensor to monitor interior temperature and operate the radiator if heating is necessary. Administrative staff of local community can constantly survey the thermal condition of any connected cube via their cellphones. There is a round shape window on the front door. This window uses liquid crystal glass, which is transparent when galvanized, translucent when the power is off. A motion sensor controls this shift of transparency. When nobody is inside the bathroom cube, the window appears to be a clear glass; when the toilet is engaged, an obscured window preserves the privacy of the user.
▼当卫生间无人使用时，圆形液晶玻璃窗断电，显示为透明，When nobody is inside the bathroom cube, the window appears to be a clear glass
▼当有人使用时，玻璃窗通电且半透明，阻隔视线，保证隐私，when the toilet is engaged, an obscured window preserves the privacy of the user
The smart bathroom looks like a piece of home appliance with an unibody outlook. It has an envelope made of prefabricated sandwich panels (insulation layer with UHPC cladding). The integrated bathroom/toilets inside is assembled onsite. The module has an overall size of 1.5×1.5×2.4 meter(WxDxH). The compact dimension facilitates the transportation and installation of the cube. This is very important in the narrow alleys in hutongs.
▼卫生间室内细部，bathroom interior view
There are two more street furniture placed in other courtyards. They are outdoor storage. These storage modules are compatible with the Wikihouse system, optimized for hutong context, digital fabricated, flat-packed and fast-assembled onsite. While the bathroom module is designed as an industry product, the wikihouse-storage module proposes a new dimension: open source, digital fabrication and self-build with new technology.
▼预装配式储藏空间#1，prefabricated storage space 1
▼平时关闭柜门节省空间，Closing doors to save space at ordinary times
▼使用时打开柜门变化形态，Opening doors to change the shape when using
All these prefabricated modules have different designs and fit into different scenarios. They have one thing in common: prefabricated structures. They can be fast-assembled in hutongs, do not rely on professional workers or construction equipment. Most importantly, these prefabricated modules are functional for the local residents, and legitimate for the administrative department. They offer a new dimension to the urban renewal of Beijing Hutongs, where the confrontation between the supervisor and the supervised could only be ended by multiple participation and mutual cooperation.
▼预装配式储藏空间#2，prefabricated storage space 2
▼柜门打开状态，Cabinet door open mode
▼柜门细部，Cabinet door details
Client: Beijing Huarongjinying Investment and Development Co. Ltd
Project Design: dot Architects, dot Make
Completion Year: 2017
Project Location: Beijing, China
Design Team: Duo Ning, Zhang Longxiao, Bai Yuming, Zhou Zheng
Courtyard Renovation: Tsinghua University_Zhang Yue
Photographer: Sun Haiting