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Courtyard House Plugin

People's Architecture Office

Plugging In.

Imagine if you could expand certain parts of your home. What if you could turn the wall of your kitchen into a comfortable reading area or adjust your transparent door to serve as a breathtaking roof? The Plugin Series by People's Architecture Office introduces acute strategies to improve small dwellings in the urban areas of historic Beijing.

The "Courtyard 72" Plugin located in Beijing, China, is a carefully crafted blend of historic preservation and urban innovation. Most of the courtyards in Beijing were once occupied by many families but now remain empty as a result of the increase of modern housing in the suburbs. However, the cost of rebuilding courtyards outweigh the financial benefits. Plugins offer an affordable solution to this problem. "Plugging in" is inexpensive and is about a fifth of the cost of tearing down and rebuilding an entirely new courtyard.

PAO believes design is for the masses and focuses on social impact through design. Through the concept of plugins, the PAO tastefully approach the idea of temporality. The architects at PAO efficiently disrupt the linear progression of time for the sake of preservation; they encourage the new to exist with the old in order to repopulate these once inhabited courtyards.

(Story by Amanda Mutai, The Architecture Player)


Architect: People's Architecture Office
Mentioned project: Courtyard House Plugin (2013)
Project location: Dashilar, Beijing, China

China 2013
Duration: 1'06"