The urban condition of Ciqikou street west area, the site of this project, is semi-chaotic or could be described as a slum, which is a typical urban form in Hutong areas today in Beijing city. The local people have coined the term “messy yard”. The spatial condition of the “messy yard” is completely different from its original form as a Siheyuan Yard. The way in which people have inhabited it has changed to a large degree over time. From a typological view, the messy yards area is more like other slums which can be found everywhere in the world, such as St Paul, Delhi, or Istanbul. – Multiple land ownerships, illegally sold and bought property and occupation in history, disgracefully crowded and insanitary, lack of sunlight and fresh air…
▼改造前的大杂院，the site before renovation
On the other hand, over time, the residents changed, people have come and gone, immigrants of the first generations grew into large families. Invisible contrasts made between neighbors help to share the space. It seems that, the spatial condition becomes solid and unshakeable. The whole urban area becomes a prison. Residents are virtually trapped within the spaces in which they live. The urban reality may not change easily. The above description is the background of this project.
▼改造后的大杂院外观，exterior view after renovation
▼改造尽量维持现有建筑的外墙主体不动，开窗与开门均调整比例和大小，the strategy is to maintain the original structure on its original boundaries while both windows and the door are modified in position and scale
The strategy is to maintain the original structure on its original boundaries, in order to keep the relationship between house and environment. Both windows and the door are modified in position and scale. A continuous canopy was installed. Work within the boundary is about rearranging the spatial resources, in order to relink the prison like space back to the city and nature.
▼轴测图，方案制造“寝屋”和“案屋”两个载具，axon, two new “chambers” were installed into the original room
For the multiple aims, the strategy is about two “boxes”, “installations” or “chambers” in the original room. They are “room for table” and “room for privacy”. We call them RT and RP. The “RT” is a boundary within itself. The two sides are outside the public corridor and inside a private space. More generally, the “table room” changed the boundary from a wall into a volume. Outside the volume, for recreating of part of the roof, there are new possibilities for windows, 3 meters high, which one can open for sunlight; but without the need to sacrifice privacy.
▼室内空间概览，an overview of the interior
The new structure is a construct inside the original wall, which has been strengthened. In addition, the reinforced concrete roof is stable enough for people’s weight. Open views and plenty of sun light come together to create a pleasant space.
Inside the “RT”, double curtains function in several ways, controlling the light and privacy conditions. A rotatable window divides the “RT” into two independent rooms. A kitchen and a Studio. This plan meets the needs of the homeowner, as she loves to cook. When the window rotates, the table can be used on both sides, meaning the space on the table can be fully utilized and shared by both rooms. The skylight above the table also functions as an access to the roof.
▼案屋承载了台面上的生活：厨房以及工作间， “room for table” includes the kitchen and the studio
▼可开启的隔扇和连贯的大桌面使厨房和工作间互相让渡，the large window is openable which links both sides of the table
▼工作台上方，预留和设置一面可上人的天窗，the skylight above the table also functions as an access to the roof
▼工作台近景，a shot of the desk
The other side of the house is the “RP”, which is constructed by a light steel structure and plywood. This “chamber” is more like a Chinese traditional “Babu bed” which is both a bed as well as a bedroom. There are spaces for a bathroom, wardrobe, dressing room, etc. There is also a “roof space” on the top of the “bedroom” which provides a personal space for the homeowner, who can have a rest, read or meditate there. Most storage spaces are hidden under the table or bed. Thus, the place between two rooms could be a totally empty space for uncertain functions. Like a party room, family room, or play room.
▼寝屋与案屋相对，the “room for privacy” is opposite the “room for table”
▼钢龙骨和木胶合板共同完成一个轻结构的体量，the room is constructed with a light steel structure and plywood
▼寝屋还承载了卫生间，化妆间，衣橱等私密功能，the RP includes the spaces for bathroom, wardrobe and dressing room
According to the plan, functions within the house have been compressed into two defined spaces, leaving the centre completely free from the chaos which defined the the house completely prior to the plan being enacted. This has thus provided a sense of dignity for those using the space, as well as a sense of comfort. The space can thus also been seen as a sequence, the home being subdivided into both spaces made up entirely of functional aspects as well as spaces defined by clarity. In addition, a small section near the entrance was repaved, creating a bridge between the home itself and its outer environment, as well as extending this sequence outward.
▼寝屋顶面是一个独处、阅读、思考的空间， the top surface of the “bedroom” provides a personal space for reading and relaxing
▼室内空间由南至北，呈现集约，放松，集约的节奏关系，according to the plan, functions within the house have been compressed into two defined spaces, leaving the centre completely free from the chaos
The strategy is experimental, the installation of two “boxes” cooperate with the original building, and at the same time keeping the relationship with its neighbors. It is my hope that this plan may be a way to stimulate further changes in the environment and urban fabric.
混境演化 – 磁器口大街杂院微改造
面积: 28 m2
Project Name：evolution of the chaos – the renovation of a Hutong house in Ciqikou street, Beijing
Architecture Firm: Chaoffice
Office website: www.chaoffice.com
Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Built Area: 28 m2
Lead Architect: Cheng,Zhi
Photographer: Cheng,Zhi Hou,Wen