Siheyuan refers to a traditional Chinese residential compound which consists of a courtyard surrounded by buildings on all four sides. In an alley within the old quarter of Beijing stands a very old Siheyuan in a state of dilapidation. A team of Chinese architects decided to take on the Siheyuan renovation project in order to bring the historical vernacular housing back to life.
When Beijing-based Archstudio accepted the renovation project, the group of architects set two main goals. First is to restore the old and the second is to insert the new. Architectural renovation of historical structures is a very complex task. We’ve seen a lot of historical buildings that have lost all their original styles and structure after renovation. And Archstudio did not want to make the same mistake. The old Siheyuan, which is now the Qishe Courtyard, has seven pitched-roof houses surrounding three courtyards. While most of the roofs, doors, walls and windows were decayed, the wooden beams and arched door openings were relatively preserved.
Siheyuan Renovation Presents A Perfect Blend Of Traditional And Modern Designs
With these conditions, the architects settled on reinforcing the architectural structures of the Qishe Courtyard in order to preserve its traditional appearance. On the other hand, they demolished the dilapidated blocks and filled the yards with grey tiles, construction materials and some greenery to add some color to the bleak setting. Furthermore, they added modern living facilities including HVAC pipes and lines, parking areas and new veranda spaces. So, now the building fuses traditional and modern themes which are functional for the modern world.
In Chinese language, the name Qishe is derived from words ‘Qi’ which means ‘seven’ and ‘she’ which means ‘house’. The name refers to the seven houses surrounding the small courtyard. Coincidentally, the quadrangle compound’s address number on the street is 7. Now the renovation project is complete, the new Qishe Courtyard flaunts the perfect mix of old and new materials along with a mesmerizing balance of contrasting hues and textures.