Saving Beijing’s hutong neighborhoods with prefab and hex wrenches
China has numerous World Heritage Sites, such as the Great Wall, the Terra Cotta Army, and the Forbidden City. While most international tourists are familiar with these historic attractions, fewer travelers know of the hutong, the old neighborhoods of narrow alleys and vernacular architecture that were very common in Beijing. Since the mid-20th century, many of these areas have had their buildings demolished, but renewed interest by the international preservation community has led to advocacy efforts to protect the hutong. Beginning in 2010 with the founding of the People’s Architecture Office, a new generation of architects is bringing community-minded development to the forefront of urban planning in Beijing, particularly in the hutong neighborhoods.
By Katherine Schwab
Fast Company Design
June 1, 2017