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Courtyard House

Studio Pei Zhu

When designing the residence for artist Cai Guoqiang, architect
Pei-Zhu’s major concern was to find a way of reconciling renovation and restoration of a traditional Chinese house, a “siheyuan”: richly decorated single-storey, grey brick buildings developed around rectangular inner courts. This particular house is one of the many high-status buildings in the Hutong neighbourhood near the Forbidden City, that are now the focus of conservation. The two-volume residence was renovated with particular attention to reinstating the decorations, their bright colours, walls and pitched roofs of the structures that enclose the large court, a secluded paved area dotted with a few trees. All work was done using traditional techniques and craftsmanship with a view to the unobtrusive inclusion of modern bathroom facilities, heating and the like. The wooden floors and walls, the unrendered brick...

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