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“Modules” could preserve historic Beijing residences

A Beijing-based design studio has created an easy way to upgrade housing in slums without demolishing it. (Caroline Angelard/flickr/cc)

All too often, cities respond to the emergence of slums by demolishing them to make way for development that displaced residents can’t afford.

What if it were possible to instead retrofit slum dwellings and historic residences with modern amenities?

Dijana Vukojević reports for The Pop-Up City that the People’s Architecture Office, a Beijing-based studio, has developed such a solution: modular interiors that fit inside existing structures. The modules are designed for older Beijing neighborhoods called Hutongs. These areas feature alleyways and courtyards filled with historic residences. Unfortunately, most are in need of major repairs and improvements.

The modules preserve the often dilapidated exteriors found in Hutongs while introducing modern amenities such as heating, wiring, insulation and plumbing. The easy-to-assemble modules have parts that snap into place without the need for screws or nails, the article says. 

The Pop-Up City

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