A Historic Beijing Structure Gets a Modern Makeover

Chinese firm ARCHSTUDIO transforms a Qing Dynasty-era structure into a tea house that blends new and old.
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Hutongs are historic features Chinese urban design: they're the narrow winding streets that connect traditional courtyard homes. These distinctive alleyways subsequently gave their name to entire neighborhoods of homes, some hundreds of years old.

Visitors enter the tea house though a hutong, the narrow street for which these historic neighborhoods are named.

The architecture firm ARCHSTUDIO was charged with renovating an 100+ year-old structure within one Beijing hutong neighborhood. The building, previsouly a site for business meetings, had fallen into disuse. The architects had to affect repairs while revamping the space into a modern tea house.

From the street, a narrow passageway leads to the tea house's modern glass entrance.


To ensure modern temperature control, the building had to be enclosed. The architects installed transparent glass walls to create a constant visual connection to the building's historic features.


The roofs were also renovated but maintain their traditional pitched roofs. The new glass enclosure can be seen below.

ARCHSTUDIO made minimal and surgical repairs, carefully replacing damaged individual bricks wherever possible.

The architect's selected starkly different dark and light hues to echo their contrast of new and old.

A second view of the tea house's roof with pitched wooden supports visible.


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