| 20 : 00 – 12 January 2018 |
Nestled in a traditional courtyard residence – ‘Hutong’ in Beijing, FON studio transforms a riverside cottage into a quiet, appealing book club.
The Hutongs which are residential neighborhoods represent a culture element of the old Beijing city. In the face of modern creations, revival and transformation of a dilapidated historic and cultural structure poses a great challenge. FON studio based in Beijing, China approached the task of transforming and renovating the Hutong into a reading quaint destination by connecting exterior with interior spaces.
From the architects –
Even in Beijing’s winter fall, people’s enthusiasm for the renewal of old city has never diminished. In Xian Yu Kou District, there are several Hutongs interspersed with a newly built river, evergreen plants, cobblestone path look particularly clear and bright. The Spring Whispers Book Club, which is the first domestic magazine library, is located in a traditional three-room house presented with public functions after the new overall planning of the neighborhood. Through reusing this place, the founders and FON Studio hope to give a new spatial experience to those who still enjoy paper reading and journals in terms of artistic design, movies and music.
As a renovation project, the main focus is to balance the relationship between feature of quaint building with the newly-added element. This allows the interior space continue naturally into outdoor space. Since the original wooden structure fell into disrepair, some parts have already crooked and damaged. But it is still solidly available after the simple reinforcement and restoration. As the new structural material, teak wood was constructed with steel structure in selected original frame to maintain the integrity of spatial structure.
Interior spaces –
With the connection of gray terrazzo, some soothing rectangular blocks are spreaded out in the facade along the river. Among these, the main entrance is linked with bar area, and combining them in a box space inserted into the original room can realise a concise and clear division of function.
A big work table designed for book display, reading and discussion placed beside the glass window allows readers to enjoy sunshine, view of river and weeping willows outside when staying here. In the west side, the grille folding window is designed for summer shading and clever responses to traditional decoration’s language.
The display of classified books is the prelude of reading. After getting inside, people’s visual focus is transferred naturally to the bookshelf area, because the combination of light white steel and wooden box is particularly eye-catching, and a variety of books and magazines in different sizes of frame are presented to readers.
Designers purpose to create a relaxed and orderly experience in this limited space, so that readers can find a suitable space for pacing, daze and concentration. In the bar&table area, sunshine spread on the fingertips through vertical grilles and a long window and flowing in different materials.
The Spring Whispers Book Club is founders’ ideal place, because the charm of reading makes us always passionate about it. A dialogue among the reader, book and space has quietly started in this riverside cottage.
Project details –
Project Name – Spring breeze reading club
Architect firm – FON Studio
Design Team – Jin Boan, Li Hongzhen, Luo Shuanghua Ouyang Yanquan
Project Location – Changxiang 5th lane Dongcheng District, Beijing, China
Project Type – Library, Book Club, Restoration, Renovation
Completion year – 2017
Built up area – 70 m2
Photographs – ©FON Studio