An Historic Beijing Structure Gets a Modern Makeover

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By Zachary Edelson / Published by Dwell
Chinese firm ARCHSTUDIO transforms a Qing Dynasty-era structure into a tea house that blends new and old.

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.

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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.

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

 

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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.

 

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

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

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

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

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