The "Encountering Shichahai: 2016 Beijing Design Week Shichahai Event Series", sponsored by Shichahai-Fujing Street Headquarters, Beijing TianHeng Development Co.,Ltd. ,Beijing TianHengZheng Yu Investment Developing Co.,Ltd. and CBC(China Building Centre), organized by Urban Environment Design(UED) Magazine comprises of diverse events focused on the historical district and courtyards of Shichahai, including exhibitions of acclaimed architects, creative brands, art and installations as well as academic salons and brand promotional events, etc. The events series aspires to spearhead the organic renewal and sustainable development of historic blocks via culture and design and illustrate the guiding idea of “innovation-driven industry, creativity-led culture and leisure-oriented lifestyle”.
Shichahai is a historic scenic area in Beijing and the only residential community of Beijing locals left, consisting of large numbers of traditional courtyards and streets. The new period have breathed new life into this area. Meanwhile, we propose to reinvigorate it through the power of design, in other words, to aim at the renewal of the culture, fabric and its spirit of the old city. The hidden treasure of Shichahai in the past is slowly embracing revolutionary ideas of living and life. We believe in waiting for the city to renew itself spontaneously and synthesizing historic protection and design innovation. Hopefully the Shichahai will be transformed into a canvass looking both into the past and the future, where people seem to embark on a wonderful adventure of multiple dimensions of art and design.
Evolution of quadrangle and Encountering Shichahai
In the long historical river of Chinese civilizations, Courtyard houses was the basic pattern used for residences, palaces, temples, monasteries, family businesses and government offices, most famously in Beijing. Dated back as early as the Western Zhou period, quadrangle is equally important compared to Supreme Harmony Palace in the Forbidden City, which is regarded as a well-known symbol of Chinese traditional residential form.
After about four decades economic booming up and opening reform, China has carried out an unprecedented rapid urbanization, but it`s also true that a large number of historical blocks were removed, making traditional urban texture into fragments. Fortunately, many Beijing quadrangles were remained in this heavily demolition wave. Community composition Hutong become living antiques showing the rich life appearance of the past. Today however, we still face the dilemma of preservation and renewal. When the traditional residential building model is “out of date” for modern life, how to regenerate through our thinking rather than let it go with a pity, deserves our efforts.
The initial Beijing courtyard was used as royal family mansion in Yuan Dynasty and gradually turns into residential for merchants and the Middle Class after two Dynasties` evolution (Ming and Qing). Then it witnesses wars, political revolution, and the land ownership reallocation until 1949, many private yards are distributed into small parcels to solve housing shortage. It remains its refined structure and appearance while the surrounding high-rises are growing increasingly. Beijing courtyard is never for the royal but seems to be informal urban village for the poor in central our Capital. It`s urgent to take fully consideration of the traditional community, so as to the space.
Nowadays, we begin to talk about conservation and renewal of historic communities. In the face of today's Beijing courtyard, what should remain and what should be updated? More precisely, it has become Tenement now, how to deal with the current residences? What`s the ideal form for these precious structures?
There is no doubt that the "Encountering Shichahai" is an opportunity to look deep into the issue. Nine well-known architects are invited to give their opinions and spatial solutions for the revival of Beijing courtyard.
The following are briefs of the nine renewal compounds by the nine architects，and there`s also an art installation by Zhu xiaodi ,two design exhibition by Professor BianLanchun and Seung H-sang.
1.Eternity of dwellings courtyard
Those deserted courtyards would be vessels of emotions. The installments are arranged in compounds poetically. Through the scenes ofthe essence of courtyard life is straightforwardly revealed, to create a bond with viewers. We seek to articulate the Oriental genius loci, to connect the viewers’ thought and spirit with the courtyard. A dialogue with tradition and cultural attitude of previous generations is made possible. What’s more, we take the entire district as an entity, to dramatize it with light installations, which blends perfectly with the unique nightlife of Shichahai, hence a new cityscape.
2. Regenerating community center for 10 minute distant city
Sponsor: Beijing TianHeng Development Co.,Ltd.
Beijing TianHengZheng Yu Investment Developing Co.,Ltd.
CBC (China Building Center)
Organizer：Seoul Metropolitan Government
Co-organizer：Urban Enverionment Design(UED)
City Architect：Seung H-sang
Curator: Chung I Sak , Kook HyoungGul
Venue: NO.10 Compound of Xihaixiyan,Shichahai Area
424 community offices, also known as Dong (洞) offices of Seoul worked for a long time as the end offices of the administrative functions for the Korean government. However, as Korea started to get into the high speed information age, many functions and roles of the offices were moved to the realm of the Internet and SNS. Also, as the administrative concerns are now more focusing on welfare than conventional administrative works, the offices had to go through some transformation on their roles. The offices were changed into the community service centers where the administrative functions are being included along with public cultural facilities.
Dong means a community of people who share water together. Therefore, using cultural facilities to regain our communities was inevitable step to maintain a sound society of Korea. In 2015, 74 community offices were changed into the community service centers and rest of the offices will be changed by the end of this year and next year. This is not just a simple improvement of our environment, but a recovery of the meaning of Dong. Every Dong should be considered as small Seoul, and if all of them are connected, the network that covers the entire Seoul area would be formed. This network is a “10 minutes’ neighborhood” which allows people to access the public cultural facilities easily and use them. This is a horizontal structure that is worthy of democratic society. Also, this must be the community where we share our burdens and benefits; the community of héguāngtóngchén (和光同尘) of Lao-tzu, the famous Chinese philosopher.
3. Innocence restored compounds living
Sponsor: Beijing Tianheng Development Group Co.,Ltd.
Beijing Tianhengzhengyu Investment And Development Co.,Ltd.
CBC (China Building Center)
Designer：Zhang Hong, Aoyama Shuhei, Wang Zheng,
Dong Yuanzheng, Li Jiutai
Venue：NO.1 Compound of Lechunfang, XichengDistict
Historical blocks pass on the history of the city, showing the city’s unique lifestyle, and conveying the cultural image of city. Along with the development of social structure, traditional family live in compounds are gradually disappearing, and population migration is changing the mode of hutong community, hence “dazayuan” (compound occupied by many households) becomes the new normal. We try to reveal the charm of tradition and cultural diversity through the protection and development of historic blocks, by means of paying attention to and continuing to improve the living environment of ordinary people. It is our commitment to redefine the ordinary compound lives with more positive social ideals and space attitude. Meanwhile, the project is also an attempt to respond to the theme of “Innocence Restored: Compound Living”.
4. The stack courtyard house
Designer: Li Xinggang
Remaining the original scale and height, the building reveals itself continuously with a stacking manner. The sight and pathways unceasingly connect with each other, which extend activities vertically. Courtyards, corridors, arbours and terraces converse with Shichahai, the old Huguosi Temple and the old Beijing city. This ‘living & public (commercial)’ mode is regarded as a heuristic and universal approach for the Shichahaineighbourhood to refurbish their own properties.
The idea of the project is to transfer a small and atypical private dwelling into a public garden/living room/courtyard/school, which embraces public program. Thus, the new construction could bring benefits not only to local residents but also to Gongwangfu area. Meanwhile, aim to create a place where people be, think and feel regardless of the busy world outside.
6. Love at First Sight
Flying down， birds date with the toon.
Growing up， trees hold clouds with kiss.
I come and make an appointment with you.
You arrive, showing love on bystreet.
They're both convinced that a sudden passion joined them.
Such certainty is beautiful, but uncertainty is more beautiful still.
Since they'd never met before, they're sure that there'd been nothing between them.
But that chance has been toying with them now for years.
7. Enclosed Past Open Future
Designer：Zhang Ming & Zhang Zi
In the design ”Enclosed Past Open Future”, the original temporary buildings on the site will be rectified and partly removed. As an alternative, four groups of metal cage yard will be placed into the traditional courtyard to rebuild the past memory. Wire ropes are used to shape the space interface to enrich space and path, imitating the image of continuous drizzle down along the eaves.
During the Beijing Design Week, exhibition space will be added into the traditional courtyard, with green plants and flowers as the ornament , becoming "waterwheel flower club" in the hutong. Later, it can be converted into places for life experience and communication with green plants and flowers as the theme.
8. Notes of the four courtyards
Designer: Wang Weijen
Starting with two trees, two walls, and two building blocks in a typical hutong context of Beijing, the design explores four prototypes of courtyard architecture: four dwelling boxes with different viewing conditions; four garden walls leading to different strolling experiences; four patios projecting front-back, large-small and high-low courtyards; four side-yards shaping the existence of architecture.
9. Community center for the Elderly
The discussion about new possibilities in Dazayuan, by the two means of applying a compacted infrastructure system indoor (i.e. freestanding service cores) and improving the courtyards conditions with a covered linkage, is raised to establish the interaction between the elderly in a communal accessible space needed by the neighborhood.
10. Garden Urbanism
Diverse urban environment：DabanjieHutong no. 7 is a typical courtyard of ordinary life.However, this courtyard consist of houses with sloping roof, flat roof and multi-level space. Several trees of various shapes along the street , market at street corner, together constitute the diversity of urban environment and charming atmosphere of life.
Maximizing reuse of underground space：On this basis, on the one hand: our design still want to keep the traditional lifestyle of central courtyard there is a day.Through the basement excavation, we maximize the use of the courtyard room;
The city extend to the courtyard: On the other hand, taking advantages of the site on two streets, the city and public life will extend to the courtyard and community life. So that both the city and residential community exist in the same time and space.
They are not only independent but also interactive. DabanjieHutong no. 7 is both the city's independent community, but also the open courtyard of the city.
11. The harmony
Because of the life style differences between the traditional yard-houses and the modern living demands, the ‘Space’ and ‘Yard’ of the Beijing Siheyuan have been fulfilled with various private small messy constructions. The most important entertainment, love and communication of family and neighborhood, brought by the courtyard of Siheyuan were lost. Walk in the Hutong, and shuttle in the miscellaneous yard, we figured out that the missing parts of Siheyuan were extremely important, especially for the elder and children who spend most of their time at home. This is the origin of the spirit of our design: The Harmony.
The inspiration of our design is originated from the form of Hutong entertainment. A serious of circular spaces has filled in the yard of Siheyuan. The different scales of these circular spaces can meet the demands of multiple amounts of users with various ages. The first floor is mainly for playing cards and chess, and the second floor is fully designed for children. The circular staircase and the tree in the yard can provide stereoscopic playing facilities.
With the spilt design, the elder are able to take care of children while having some recreation.We look towards to compensate the lack of living Hutong circumstances with the restricted public space set in the small yard of Siheyuan, and make it a functional harmonious area of architecture, space, living entertainment and art. This is also a research on the possibility of the harmonious Siheyuan as popularize the regional public facilities.
12. Culture collision
Remove the non load bearing wall so that the space become open, transparent and comfortable. Using the collision and blending between the modern instruments and Ming style furniture, and the overlap and interleaving between new way of life and the original courtyard space to show the respect for Hutong culture and add vitality to it.
Taking the chances of Beijing Design Week 2016, this events has good organization, it is trying to find the binding point of architect design and art installations, so as to brand. The courtyard should be a kind of urban catalyst, a semi public space for modern community, and also a kind of new culture for Beijing.
Urban Environment Design (UED) Magazine
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