This project further explores a sustainable renewal strategy for the urban fabric in the Baitasi historical area in an extremely subtle way. It aims to transform a 150 sqm courtyard in a shared space for two households with the insertion of a prefabricated service core in the 80 sqm main apartment and an 8 sqm “Mini House” underneath the pitched roof.
The boundary of the courtyard is clearly defined by its dated brick walls. By reinforcing them with a 9 cm thick casting concrete mixed with Chinese ink, and extending the roof structure to create integral roof scenery, we intended to give the courtyard enclosure and unity, refurbishing it instead of rebuilding it.
The 3.5 sqm service core, facilitated with kitchen, bathroom, laundry and storage, and the prefabricated “Mini House”, a completely independent fully equipped living unit, provide amenities largely lacking in hutongs. Once propagating throughout the old city, the cores and the “Mini Houses” may solve urgent infrastructure problems and dramatically improve the quality of life among hutong residents, against both the "tabula rasa" approach and the possible gentrification phenomenon that is common in the old city renewal practices.