Sitting at first place in the residential category of APSDA Awards 2021 is Studio iF for Singapore’s project, Courtyard House. Located in the traditional Hutong area in Beijing, China, this private cluster of siheyuan (courtyard buildings) serves as a peaceful retreat from hectic city life. The overall design matches the client’s love for tea to build a sanctuary for practicing the art of tea.
The buildings around the main courtyard and a few secondary courtyards allow access to evergreen garden views, making it a tranquil refuge to appreciate in all seasons. Within the building, a hand chiseled Chinese wall art dominates the lounge, along with the owner’s collection of fine art and teaware collections.
Despite the traditional setting, the design team has taken modern necessities into consideration. The most prominent feature would be Chinese shutter screen doors within the traditional courtyard houses, with the interplay of shadow and light enriching the internal area. The glass doors sandwiched in between the lattice work can keep the room safe from the harsh winters. To introduce lighting and warmth into the cold basements, glass skylights were installed in discrete areas, away from the main plaza.
Besides, mechanical ventilation and air conditioning systems have been skillfully hidden within interior elements such as wall features, artwork, or a stylish “loose” console. This feature brings attention to raw timber roof structures above, which have been meticulously reworked with modern materials and washed with soft lighting.
Overall, the Courtyard House is an artwork that celebrates traditional Chinese craftsmanship.