HUTONGism is an ongoing research project that collectively explores the potential of the hutong, a type of urban vernacular in Beijing, as a living condition in highly dense environment. The hutong has developed from gridded residential neighborhoods into dynamic mixed-use complexes. Contemporary hutongs contain alleyways, courtyard houses, and service elements such as shops and restaurants. For our research, we imagine the hutong as a collective house: alleyways as living rooms, courtyard houses as bedrooms, shops as pantries, and restaurants as dining rooms. Residents share this house with each other and with visitors. Different from high-rise residences, its collective attributes suggest alternative ways of living in high density. We consider the hutong as an inspiration for vibrant urban community.
The exhibition presents three projects under the theme of HUTONGism:
Hutong Living Room—“In-between”, Baolin Shen and Jingqiu Zhang, Yale School of Architecture
Hutong Pantry—Informal Encounter, Flora, Oficina de arquitectura
Hutong Attic—Roofscape, Jiang Chang
The works explore the hutong through observations, interpretations, and design interventions presented by means of photos and videos, models and drawings.
HUTONGism sets up a test ground for the urban research methodology of “learning from the existing.” Taking an inductive approach, we start from the object scale and expand to the neighborhood scale. The research aims first to reveal the conditions for creating lively communal space and second to understand the intricacies of relationships embedded within the urban environment.