Design firm F.O.G. Architecture recently took on the renovation of a 280-year-old historical building in Beijing, tasked with balancing the delicate process of preserving the building’s heritage while modernizing it for a new purpose.
The building, which now houses ToSummer’s flagship store in China, is a 500 sqm quadrangle courtyard that was built during the Mid-Qing dynasty.
The renovation project was approached with the intention of preserving the authenticity and integrity of the original construction while rearranging the layout to create an open plan. The result is a harmonious blend of old and new elements that pays tribute to both traditional and contemporary design methods while visually narrating the brand’s identity throughout the space.
The team at F.O.G. Architecture broke down the original layout into a series of interconnected functional zones, taking both an epistemic and sensory approach. They understand that colors, materials, soundscapes, and other spatial components have a significant impact on the interior design and the user’s experience. To highlight the presence of a hundred-year-old tree in the back garden, the staircase was repositioned to revolve around it, and more shrubs and pines were added to the second courtyard.
The roof trusses that bear the ceiling loads were repaired, and the operative room was enlarged between the crown and supporting structures. The original wooden structure of the triangle-shaped timber trusses, beams, and columns were exposed, now serving as the centerpiece of the retail store and defining its outline. The rooftop, originally made up of gray brick tiles, was kept uniform and layered with the same density and wavy formation. The crown cover now flows seamlessly into the ground level through vertical glass surfaces.
The renovation of the building broke down the conventional, secluded Siheyuan layout – the Siheyuan is a typical model of Beijing architecture, consisting of a square courtyard framed on all four sides by buildings with a symmetrical layout in relation to the central axis – and assembled a flat, open space. The yards, rooftops, and columns are now the main features of the design, with all the store’s display areas distributed on the ground level and unfolding around the main courtyard.
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Name: ToSummer Guozijian Flagship
Designer: F.O.G. Architecture | @fogarchitecture
Design team: Zou Dejing, Wu Leilei, Wang Shengqi, Tang Mo, Lei Ronghua, Jiang Lu, Huang Yingzi, Zhuang Shaokai, Sun Yuan, Zhang Xinyue, Chen Yixuan, Zheng Yining, Tao Xinwei, Cao Xiaomao, Hou Shaokai, Xiong Aijie, Khoon Choi, Zhan Di, Zheng Yu
Location: Beijing, China
Photography: InSpace Architectural Photography
Click on this link to read this article in French version