As one of the last preserved areas of old Beijing, the neighborhood of Baitasi offers a unique glimpse into future possibilities of vibrant livable communities and the manner in which they are conceived, constructed and experienced. Several shops in Baitasi currently offer construction materials and services, but the selection and building methodologies result in the hodgepodge nature of building renovation and addition. The state of Baitasi’s vernacular is dependent and perpetuated by the conventions, skills, and craftsmanship of these shops.
The Baitasi Construction Shop is envisioned as a place where design innovation meets community engagement as a localized response to the evolution of the built environment of Baitasi. The key aim is the advancement of building knowledge as the foundation of design research, collecting also resources from the local design community. It is utilized to demonstrate new building methodologies and material uses to improve the quality of lifestyle in Baitasi.
However, no amount of design work can be properly applied without including the community and its inputs, as inhabitants understand their lifestyle and functional requirements better than anyone else. The emergence of the Baitasi Construction Shop as a design service hub will provide a location for local residents to express their desires. Locals will be introduced to new building materials, construction techniques and technology to integrated into a high quality hutong lifestyle.
During the first phase of the Baitasi Construction Shop, there will be an exhibition serving as an “information gathering device” to engage the community in the discussion about the design and development of the built environment from public to domestic spaces. The core of exhibition space will be a design questionnaire expressed as an interactive sculptural installation. Visitors and local residents will be asked to answer questions on their preferences on potential design urban solutions. Inspired by traditional Chinese bracket structures, the method of inputting responses and recording data consists of inserting wood sticks into new structural constructs to form community designed sculptures.
Sept. 23rd – Oct. 7th
21 Gongmenkou Xicha