Hostel and social housing Micro Hutong | The Plan
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Hostel and social housing Micro Hutong

ZAO/standardarchitecture

Zhang Ke began his architectural practice in Tibet: the abstract simplicity and bright colors of Tibetan architecture have had a profound impact on his architectural approach. His series of projects in Tibet adopts contemporary local masonry and a geometric-inspired appearance to make the buildings seem like land art, deeply embedded in Tibet’s unique landscape. An inner courtyard surrounded by abstract geometric shapes formed during that period has become a leitmotiv of all Zhang Ke’s works, albeit in different iterations. His two projects in Tibet, the Niyang River Visitor Center and the Niangou Boat Terminal, share a common vocabulary of local masonry, topography, a platform and an enclosed courtyard. The coloring of the former, using mineral pigments, adorns a sharp external form protruding from the ground, while the latter appears as a complex platform ramp system embedded into the landscape. Continuing his practice after his brief series of Tibetan architectural projects, Zhang Ke returned to his home city, Beijing, and began a series of architectural projects based on Beijing’s special historical urban fabric, its hutongs (“Buildings in a Spiral Shell”). His Micro Hutong project originated from the idea of a guesthouse, realized by placing separate concrete boxes in a minimal 30 sq. m courtyard space. As its hallmark feature, the box maintains a tiny internal courtyard, minimizing the room unit oriented towards the inner courtyard and rendering it into a fixed-scale building. In the Micro Yuan’er micro-cultural center inside the hutong, within a very small private space, in addition to the original room being transformed into a library, two small mountain-style buildings were repurposed to completely re-energize this traditional inner courtyard, making it Zhang Ke’s most bountiful and unique work. The courtyard space imbues the whole building with sociological significance. The final hutong project, the Co-Living...

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