DAGA Architects Adds Mirrored Courtyard to Traditional Hutong House

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Chinese studio DAGA Architects renovated and modernized a traditional Hutong residence in Beijing’s Dongcheng district, adding mirrors to the walls and floor of the entrance courtyard to expand the space.


The project is shortlisted in the housing category of the Dezeen Awards 2021 and represents an innovative approach to the modernization of these traditional dwellings with courtyard.

The project is called Baochao Hutong Mirror Yard

Beijing hutongs are narrow lanes lined with one-story courtyard houses called siheyuan. Houses were often joined together to create a hutong, with several hutongs then combining to form a neighborhood.

DAGA Architects‘is one of many recent attempts to revitalize neglected Hutong buildings, including a hotel designed by Fon Studio and a house with curved glass walls by Arch Studio.

DAGA Architects remodeled a traditional hutong house

The owner of this siheyuan wanted to return to the house she was raised by her grandparents, but over the years the building had fallen into disrepair and needed a complete renovation.

One of the key interventions was to transform the narrow courtyard of the property, which is concealed behind a wooden door leading to the street and extending to the center of the house.

Mirror courtyard
The house has a narrow mirrored courtyard

The architects installed mirrored panels on the floor and a wall at the end of the passage to create the illusion of a much larger space.

The mirrored surfaces reflect the sky and surrounding buildings, as well as the interior of the building, which is visible through new full-height glass walls.

Mirrored reflective surfaces
The environment is reflected in the reflective surfaces

“With the continuous changes in reflection and the surrounding environment, the mirrored courtyard shows a rapidly changing beauty,” said DAGA Architects. “Every moment is unique and, like time, cannot be recorded but only felt.”

The project also involved modernizing the interior of the residence, which had fallen into disrepair. The existing wooden structure was reinforced and the original facade was replaced by the glass curtain wall.

The house has an open kitchen, a dining and living area, as well as a bathroom on one side of the courtyard. Each of the spaces, including the bathroom, is lined with glazing to draw in daylight from the adjacent courtyard.

“The transparent curtain wall adds daylight to the interior space,” the studio added, “allowing line of sight to penetrate both sides of the courtyard, creating an extroverted and introverted courtyard space. “

Open plan living space inside Baochao Hutong Mirror Yard
The house has an open living space

Across the central passage is a minimalist bedroom and en-suite bathroom, with a black and white interior meant to create a calming and tranquil atmosphere.

DAGA Architects believes that the act of urban renewal and renewal should focus on new materials and design approaches, rather than simply preserving buildings such as obsolete hutong houses.

Minimalist bedroom and bathroom
A minimalist bedroom was designed to promote tranquility

“Renovation is not the maintenance and reproduction of old buildings,” the studio asserted, “but of superimposing a new lifestyle on the old history and creating a new contrast and a new integration. innovation can breathe new life into old buildings. “

The Baochao Hutong Mirror Yard project took just 14 days of construction on site, with a large team helping to transform the siheyuan into a home designed for modern living.

The photograph is from Jin weiqi.


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