With the population constantly growing, especially in big cities, it becomes increasingly difficult to find a free plot of land on which to build a new house. Architects and their clients have to become more and more clever and ingenious. Some choose to build their homes on narrow sites found in between existing buildings. It’s the case of this family home located in Dongcheng Qu, in China.
The house was built on a tiny piece of land in between a wall and a buildingEven though the site is small, the architects made the most of itThere was even room for a small courtyard at the back of the house
The house was designed by B.L.U.E. Architecture Studio in 2016 and it occupies a site of only 43 square meters. It’s situated near the historical center of Beijing, an area that’s densely populated. To make the most of the site and to adapt it to the clients’ needs, the architects chose an L-shaped plan. They sandwiched the house between a wall and an existing building.
All the functions and necessary spaces were squeezed into 43 square meters of spaceA circulation area were created on one side of the house, linking all the functionsThis interior corridor connects all the different rooms and spaces which are clustered in the remaining area
The house had to function as a cozy, modern and multifunctional home for a family of six. Given the reduced dimensions of the plot, there was not enough room for everything in the conventional sense so the architects had to be creative. Instead of creating separate spaces for each individual function, they designed the interior with a series of open spaces.
The interior is organized on two levels, a ground floor and a loft or mezzanine areaThe ground floor is composed of a series of wooden box-like volumes, each with a different functionOne of the corners was transformed into a small indoor gardenA small bench provides a nice resting area which can also serve as a reading nook
The interior is organized on two levels. The lower level is a collection of wooden boxes which contain functions such as the living space, the dining area, the bedroom, study and bathroom. These spaces together form an open and continuous volume with a side corridor that links them.
The back facade opens onto the small backyard and is made of wood and glassGiven the reduced dimensions of the house and the diversity of functions, storage was a real challenge
The architects didn’t waste any corner or any space, making the most of the floor plan
This sort of organization was prefered in order to offer each person their individual living space and needed privacy. Although the spaces are aprt of a cohesive unit, they serve as individual structures each with its own characteristics. The size of each of these boxes was decided based on the height of the person(s) usually using it as well as the type of activities involved.
The upper level is suspended above the ground floor boxes and houses some of the private functionsThe living room is just a small lounge with a U-shaped seating area below the children’s play areaThe upper level is an open space dedicated to the children
The upper level is an open space which houses the bedroom of the children as well as a playroom with nets and cozy carpets. The decor and ambiance up here are warm and comfortable and there’s also a nice sense of intimacy despite the openess.
Carpets and nets ensure a safe and fun environmentThere’s a nice view of the green corner from up hereThere are two access points that link the two floors
The shared corridor at the side of the house links all the interior spaces and at the same time connects them to the outdoor public space. The facade that leads to the backyard can open like a huge door. It has a wooden frame and transparent glass panels and it brings light in while also offering a view of the yard.
One of the staircases is hidden behind a wooden panel and is placed between the sleeping and lounge areasThe other staircase has drawers under each tread, a great way to maximize storageMultifunctional and extensible furniture was a great option for the house, considering its size
There’s also a long skylight which runs along the side corridor. It’s another feature which connects all the spaces and also a rgeat source of natural light which makes this unusual layout work even better. At the same time, the skylight brings the outdoors in.
A small desk is squeezed in the corner just below the children’s bedroomThere was no space for a separate bedroom so the bed was integrated into the ground floor unit