ARCHSTUDIO transformed a small individual building situated in an old hutong neighborhood of Beijing. Due to historic reasons, there are many individual buildings in Beijing’s old districts, apart from traditional courtyard dwellings (Siheyuan) and big messy courtyards (Dazayuan).
Project name: Mirror Garden
Design firm: ARCHSTUDIO (www.archstudio.cn)
Chief designers: Han Wenqiang, Li Xiaoming
Design team: Wang Tonghui, Huang Tao, Song Huizhong ,Wen Chenhan
Construction phase: August 2018 — April 2019
Location: Dongsi Subdistrict, Beijing, China
Area: 283 m2
Main materials: mirrors, steel panels, terrazzo
Photography: Wang Ning, Hong Qiang
The design team replaced the original flat roof with a pitched structure, and reduced the architectural volume to integrate it into the surrounding built environment. Mainly functioning as a multi-brand boutique, the building can accommodate a variety of activities such as exhibitions, products selling and dining, and is also available for activity venue rental.
The main concept of the design is to build indoor-outdoor connections through mirrors and yards, so as to create infinite field of vision in the limited space and turn the architecture into a “garden” featuring diversified scenes and experiences. Three yards connect the interior spaces, and bring in ample sunshine and greenery.
Walking through a daylight-filled yard, it arrives at the first floor, where furniture and some other products are displayed and sold. A large area of the space is finished with mirrors, which produce multiple reflections of people, objects, furniture and plants and generate an interactive relationship between the “real” and the “reflected”. The staircase, complemented by a 6-meter-high vertical plant wall, zigzag upwards to the second floor, the attic.
The kitchen and the dining table are constructed with terrazzo, together forming a “L” shape, which enables the close interaction between the chef and dinners. There are two terraces respectively situated on the north and south side of 2F, allowing indoor activities to be extended outdoors freely. The basement was repurposed into an area for displaying and selling garment, shoes and hats. The gleaming floor serves as the display stand for hats, shoes and other items, and also brightens the underground space. Well-selected clothes are hung in a mirror-filled space, which produces playful interaction between people and objects. The design team adopted an intelligent lighting system in the entire space, and embedded variable lights into mirror-clad spaces, with a view to meeting the needs for different activities and settings.
Established in 2010 and based in 798 Art Zone, Beijing, ARCHSTUDIO advocates maintaining a harmonious balance among human, nature, history and commerce in design practices, pursues the essence and true way of design, controls the whole process from concept to construction, and strives to create quality and emotional spatial environment that is based on the contemporary era and embraces future. Currently, the Studio mainly focuses on architectural design in natural context, urban architecture renovation & transformation, and upgrade of consumption space, etc.
Space is an aggregation of various relationships. During design practices, ARCHSTUDIO insists on the principle of “design of relationships”, analyzes reality of uncertainties, and coordinates relations between the large and small, exterior and interior, the new and old, the artificial and natural, etc. Besides, it works to create forms according to physical objects, produce spatial ambience for the mind, evoke interaction between the space and physical behaviors and enable infinite space perception, thereby to enhance spirit and experiences of the space.
In 2015, ARCHSTUDIO was honored as one of the 10 Design Vanguards by the renowned American magazine Architectural Record. And from 2015 to 2019, it has been included in China’s AD100 list consecutively from 2015 to 2019, which recognizes it as one of China’s top 100 talents in architecture and design.
LEAF Awards, Architizer A+Awards，Wood Design & Building Design Awards, Interior Design’s Best of Year Awards, ArchDaily’s Building of The Year Awards, ASC Architectural Design Awards, WA Awards for Chinese Architecture (shortlisted), TID Award (Gold Award), Asia Pacific Interior Design Awards (Gold Award), etc.
“Contemporary Architecture in China” at Harvard, 10×100 — An Exhibition of 100 Architects for the 10th Anniversary of UED, The Gwangju Design Biennale in South Korea, Milan Design Week, Beijing Design Week Theme Exhibition, Design Spectrum “In Harmony: The Way of Tea” in Hong Kong, etc.
Associate Professor, School of Architecture of CAFA (Central Academy of Fine Arts)
Founder & Chief Architect, ARCHSTUDIO
Han Wenqiang was born in Dalian, Liaoning, China. He got a master’s degree in School of Architecture of CAFA in 2005 and since then has been teaching there. In his design practices and researches, he advocates observing and reflecting on physical environment with traditional wisdom, insists on a basic view that “space is a medium”, takes “design of relationships” as an important approach, creates forms based on physical objects, produces spatial ambience for the mind, and strives to achieve harmony and balance among human, nature, history, culture, commerce and space.
His representative works mainly include Waterside Buddhist Shrine, Tea House in Hutong, Organic Farm, Twisting Courtyard, etc. In 2020, he was invited to be the judge of Leaf Awards. He was a winner of Architectural Record’s Design Vanguard Competition in 2015 and Perspective’s 40 UNDER 40 Awards (Architecture category) in 2017. Besides, he has been included in the AD100 list consecutively from 2015 to 2019, which recognizes him as China’s top 100 talents in architecture and design.
“Contemporary Architecture in China” at Harvard, 10×100 — An Exhibition of 100 Architects for the 10th Anniversary of UED, The Gwangju Design Biennale in South Korea, The 2rd China Design Exhibition, Design Spectrum “In Harmony: The Way of Tea” in Hong Kong, etc.
Han Wenqiang’s design works have been published by multiple renowned magazines such as Architectural Record, Architectural Review, Arquitectura Viva, Frame, d+a, Perspective, Taiwan Architecture, Time + Architecture and on various online media platforms including Dezeen, Designboom, ArchDaily, Wallpaper, archiposition, gooood, etc.