Hutong Bubble 218 by MAD gives “new life” to ageing Beijing hutong

MAD has transformed a vacant courtyard house in one of Beijing's ancient hutongs by adding two bubble-like workspaces to its roof.


Named Hutong Bubble 218, the overhaul is hoped to revive the hutong – a type of alley formed by lines of traditional courtyard residences – and attract more people to the neighbourhood in the Qianmen East area.

It forms part of MAD's ongoing project that spotlights the potential of these ancient neighbourhoods in the Chinese capital, which are continually being damaged and demolished due to rapid urban development.

"This is a micro-utopian ideal,"said Ma Yansong, the studio's founder. "I hope that these bubbles will serve as vital newborn cells, giving the traditional hutong new life, and revitalising the community."

MAD's first overhaul of one of Beijing's historic courtyard houses, Hutong Bubble 32, was carried out in 2009 and involved the installation of one mirrored bubble that contains a bathroom and staircase.

Its latest intervention, Hutong Bubble 218, is based in a dwelling near the Forbidden City palace that was built in the late 1800s to house Beijing's first international hospital.

The building was later transformed into a residence for more than 20 families, but left abandoned after several structural interventions led to its dilapidation.

MAD has added two sculptural "bubbles" to the rooftop of the old courtyard house, which are not visible from the outside the hutong.

David Chipperfield Architects completes office with “hanging gardens” in Seoul

Korean beauty giant Amorepacific's cube-shaped headquarters, designed by David Chipperfield Architects, is punctuated with voids filled with trees and pools.


Arranged around a central courtyard, three of the building's facades have large voids that open the building to the surrounding city, and serve as platforms for what the architects describe as "hanging gardens".

The 30-storey building in Seoul, South Korea, has 25 floors of office space above four floors containing public faculties including galleries and restaurants.

A central void runs through the building, allowing daylight to filter through to the interiors of the offices, with the voids connecting the exterior facade and this light well.

David Chipperfield Architects has clad the building in brise-soleil that deflect sunlight and gives the pale facade a soft and hazy quality.

This covering doesn't reach to the ground floor, which has been instead left open with just a glass facade surrounding the atrium.

The ground floor contains the reception area, along with an art museum and tea room that's open to the public.

On the first floor there's an auditorium and a childcare centre, as well as a place for customers to come and test the company's products. A lower ground floor holds further exhibition and retails spaces.

The auditorium stretches to the third floor, with escalators between floors connecting the covered central area, which is lit by skylights under a courtyard pool above

London cafe in spiral concrete shell has retractable windows by architecture studio NEX

A spiral cafe with a rooftop garden in Chelsea, London, by architecture studio NEX has curved windows that can retract fully when the weather is good.


The windows of the the Cadogan Cafe can retreat into the ground, allowing the dining area to to spill out into the surrounding square.

Wrapped in a slender arcade of 15-centimetre-thick concrete panels, the cafe is located on Duke of York Square, next to the Saatchi Gallery on King's Road.

The retractable, curved glazing elements use a chain system similar to a sash window to lower the windows into a basement channel.