Hutongs, traditional Chinese housing made up of narrow alleyways and courtyards, continue to be ripe for small living wizardry. The latest example? A 460-square-foot Beijing home that manages to fit in all the necessities—plus a grass-lined play area—for a family of six.
Faced with a challenging L-shaped site sandwiched between a building and an existing hutong wall, local firm B.L.U.E Architecture came up with solutions that maximize every inch of space.
The architects drew influence from the home’s surroundings, incorporating the hutong concept of a shared public space. Openness, they decided, would help brighten the space and bring the family together.
The double-height area under a skylight makes the place seem larger than it is, while transforming wooden boxes to the side create distinct spots for the living and dining rooms, as well as a bedroom, and a bathroom. Walls of the living and dining area can be pushed back to make more space if needed. There are also sliding partitions that allow boundaries and a sense of privacy.
A play area with grass carpeting and netting nestles on the upper level, which also houses the children’s bedrooms. At the rear, a full height glass door opening up to a courtyard further brings in the outside.