Caochang Hutong Courtyard Houses, Renovation and Exhibition

© Xu Cheng
© Xu Cheng
Photo © Yang Chaoying
Photo © Yang Chaoying
Photo © Yang Chaoying
© Dong Hao
Photo © Dong Hao
Photo © Xu Cheng

Two courtyards upgraded in a program led by Beijing Institute of Architectural Design (BIAD)to improve the living quality of everyday life of the local residents, without gentrification.Applied in one is an installation of an immersive journey that explored ideas of the past, present and future living needs and the meaning of 'home', during Beijing Design week 2016.


Situated in the long established community of the Caochang neighborhood, twenty-eight courtyards were renovated in the first phase of the project initiated by Beijing Institute of Architectural Design Art Center, in which seven offices participated.

Courtyard houses exist in a rich, unique, urban fabric, a low density and small scaled environment with alleys, or hutongs, that connect the courtyards. The intimate relationship between indoor and outdoor and the contrast between the old and the new is crucial. A few key principles achieved the basic renovation: increase interior area, optimize spatial arrangements, update kitchen and bathroom and building envelope.

The installation 'I was here' was Crossboundaries contribution to the 'Real Existence' exhibition that followed the renovations.The installation created a blurred and exploratory space for visitors to reflect, on the history of the courtyard house, its function today and its evolution in the future, focused on your relationship with 'home', emphasizing the interaction of people, space and time.

Binke Lenhardt, DONG Hao, GAO Yang, Cynthia Cui, TAN Kebin, HAO Hongyi, Mini Liu, Natalie Bennett, Sidonie Kade, YAN Yiwen
Tianjie Group
Beijing Institute of Architectural Design (BIAD)