Harijs Alsiņš

Harijs Alsiņš

Barcelona, ES


Huangdu Art Centre

Project description from

Old Beijing is built of a tight network of hutongs, closely woven districts of communal courtyard housing blocks. The basic typology of these districts is one-storey buildings which form distinct geometric patterns repeated at high density. This historic urban fabric is increasingly under threat; it is now forced to retreat for the larger, monumental modern architecture of contemporary Beijing.

The site of this project illuminates this controversial issue in urban sprawl. Positioned in close proximity to the heart of old Beijing, close to historically significant architecture such as the Forbidden City and opposite the National Art Museum of China, the site straddles this divide: small scale hutongs remain at the sites western edge, yet the east is bounded by a modern axis of major city routes, commercial malls and hotels. In response to this dilemma, MAD proposes to create a building established on many small hutong-scalar pieces that collectively achieve the overall volume. Huangdu is designed by layering different courtyard vertically, resulting in multifaceted, semi-solid volumes, which maintains the spatial relationships and hollow cores of the courtyards.

Huangdu is an urban instrument signifying Beijing’s aspirations to be a forward looking city yet always respects its roots and its past. This proposal extends the city fabric from small to large, negotiating the two scales at work here on site, and provide a means to reconcile two worlds of Beijing today.

Location: Beijing, China
Typology: Art Gallery, Hotel
Site Area: 6.300 sqm
Building Area: 46,000sqm

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Status: Unbuilt
Location: Beijing, CN
My Role: Designer - taking part in all project development aspects
Additional Credits: Director in charge: Ma Yansong, Qun Dang
Design team: Felipe Escudero, Sophia Tang, Alan Kwan, Helen Yanyang Li, Liu Wei Wei, Tang Liu, Stefan Ritter
Associate Engineers: Beijing Institute of Architecture Design (BIAD)