With the population constantly growing, especially in big cities, it becomes increasingly difficult to find a free plot of land on which to build a new house. Architects and their clients have to become more and more clever and ingenious. Some choose to build their homes on narrow sites found in between existing buildings. It’s the case of this family home located in Dongcheng Qu, in China.
The house was designed by B.L.U.E. Architecture Studio in 2016 and it occupies a site of only 43 square meters. It’s situated near the historical center of Beijing, an area that’s densely populated. To make the most of the site and to adapt it to the clients’ needs, the architects chose an L-shaped plan. They sandwiched the house between a wall and an existing building.
The house had to function as a cozy, modern and multifunctional home for a family of six. Given the reduced dimensions of the plot, there was not enough room for everything in the conventional sense so the architects had to be creative. Instead of creating separate spaces for each individual function, they designed the interior with a series of open spaces.
The interior is organized on two levels. The lower level is a collection of wooden boxes which contain functions such as the living space, the dining area, the bedroom, study and bathroom. These spaces together form an open and continuous volume with a side corridor that links them.
This sort of organization was prefered in order to offer each person their individual living space and needed privacy. Although the spaces are aprt of a cohesive unit, they serve as individual structures each with its own characteristics. The size of each of these boxes was decided based on the height of the person(s) usually using it as well as the type of activities involved.
The upper level is an open space which houses the bedroom of the children as well as a playroom with nets and cozy carpets. The decor and ambiance up here are warm and comfortable and there’s also a nice sense of intimacy despite the openess.
The shared corridor at the side of the house links all the interior spaces and at the same time connects them to the outdoor public space. The facade that leads to the backyard can open like a huge door. It has a wooden frame and transparent glass panels and it brings light in while also offering a view of the yard.
There’s also a long skylight which runs along the side corridor. It’s another feature which connects all the spaces and also a rgeat source of natural light which makes this unusual layout work even better. At the same time, the skylight brings the outdoors in.