Hutong Living Conditions, Then and Now. Interview with Hai Daye, Wu A’yi and Wang Tong by Amanda Ju
book section

Grey brick hutongs formed by a courtyard-and-alley system are emblematic of Beijing's traditional inner-city architecture, which still contends with modern, corporate redevelopments to shape the character of the city. The important tasks of preserving and revitalising the hutongs, on the verge of erasure, require particular sensitivity. The Micro Hutong Renewal series by Zhang Ke's ZAO/standardarchitecture is a unique response to this delicate context, focusing on the small structures added to hutong courtyards by residents during the past 60 years. The first of these architectural achievements acquired international recognition as well as receiving Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

Scholarly essays across disciplines explore a range of topics related to Chinese contemporary architecture. They investigate the term Hutong Metabolism from different perspectives, including ironic allusions to historical movements and literal translations associating historical cities and their components with living organisms.

The practise of Zhang Ke's ZAO/standardarchitecture is positioned within this architectural landscape against an in-depth historical backdrop. Beyond academic engagement with the topic, interviews with residents ensure a broad range of perspectives.

With contributions by Nondita Correa Mehrotra, Farrokh Derakhshani, Kristin Feireiss & Hans-Jürgen Commerell, Kenneth Frampton, Amanda Ju, Zhang Ke, Mohsen Mostafavi and Martino Stierli.


Ju, Amanda. Hutong Living Conditions, Then and Now. Interview with Hai Daye, Wu A’yi and Wang Tong by Amanda Ju in Hutong Metabolism: ZAO/standardarchitecture. Edited by Cristina Steingräber. Berlin: ArchiTangle, 2021, pp. 226-234.

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Associated Sites

Aga Khan Award for Architecture, ArchiTangle GmbH, ZAO/standardarchitecture and the contributors