Beijing based studio People’s Architecture Office developed a panelling system that allows people to temporary build a living space within the old Courtyard House structure and keep it intact. So while the structure may look as an old house from the outside, the interiors of the house tell a new, more modern story.
“The plug-in modules are built using energy-efficient technologies and infrastructural elements such as plumbing, floor heating, insulation, and wiring are integrated into the Plugin Units,” says co-founder of PAO, James Shen. The house within the house therefore accommodates all the needs a modern citizen can have and were not always provided in old Hutongs.Each plug-in has all the parts put in one piece, the interior and the exterior of the plug-in function as one, there are no screws or nails.
This sort of living solution comes in handy when renovating old protected buildings and presents an alternative to tearing them down. “Houses tend to degrade when they’re vacant and unkempt,” says Shen, so plug-ins may help keep places like Hutongs alive despite their beat up look.