Micro Yuan'er, Beijing, China
Cha'er Hutong Yard Number 8, is a traditional Chinese courtyard dwelling in Beijing Historical Conservation Area. Once a temple, the site was transformed into a place of residence in the 1950s and has been shared by up to 12 residents.
The project aims to refresh the shabby yard and bring the underused courtyard into service while reserving its cultural characteristics, and to improve the living conditions of the neighbourhood.
Date : 2012-2014
Implementation period: 2 years
Time life of the project: Achieved
Cost: Funded by Beijing Dashilan Investment Company
Status of land : Private and Public
Type of place: traditional courtyard residence
- Beijing Dashilan Investment Company,
- The architects and the inhabitants are the originators.
- After the construction, the users, including the children and the inhabitants, are constantly implementing it.
- Inhabitants and the government are the co-owner of the project.
Children in the neighborhood, inhabitants in the yard
Types of actions
- Events: Many small-scale facilities are added to the courtyard, including Children’s library, miniature art space, little open-air theatre, art classrooms and communal kitchen.
- Reversible actions: The new constructions can be demolished
The project was initiated by the local authority of Xicheng District, but it aims to serve the citizens living there and the needs of the citizens are fully consulted prior to project design. While building the facilities, the implementors offered to renovate the inhabitants’ residence. More importantly, in order to prevent users and outsiders from peeping into the inhabitants’ house, the architect put a wooden screen in front of their residence. Since there are still inhabitants living in the yard, the place cannot be a completely public one, otherwise it would intrude on their private life. Allowing for the needs of the inhabitants, the operators have made a schedule clarifying opening hours of the facilities. An elder inhabitant in the community takes charge of the operation and maintenance of the facilities.
Types of intervention
- Urban design / street intervention : Urban design and renovation of the residents’ dwelling; Redevelopment of the underused public area.
- New activities : Children’s library, miniature art space, little open-air theatre, art classrooms
- Waste and Environment : Improved courtyard environment
Achieved objectives: The retrofitted courtyard provides a venue for children to build connections with each other and also with the history and traditional lifestyle. The appearance and the functionality of the place as a residence are significantly improved, raising the living standards of the residents.
- The facilities require routine maintenance and management, inducing extra costs.
- The facilities are not open 24-hour.
- The facilities could have been more inclusive to incorporate the needs of other groups such as the elderly.
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- Hutong Children’s Library & Art Centre | Aga Khan Development Network. (2021). Retrieved 18 March 2021, from https://www.akdn.org/architecture/project/hutong-childrenslibrary-art-centre
- ZAO/standardarchitecture (2021). Retrieved 18 March 2021, from http://standardarchitecture.cn/v2news/7206
- Zhang, K., & Zhang, Y. (2021). Symbiotic Renewal » standardarchitecture. Retrieved 18 March 2021, from http://www.standardarchitecture.cn/v2news/7338
- Cheng, X., Yin, S., & Wang, H. (2019). Micro-renewal of Dashilar (in Chinese). Beijing: Tsinghua University Press
- Type of action : aménagement / équipement
- State : En cours