‘Seed’ Fangjia Hutong 12 Great Friend Outdoors Club

Design Firm:Robot 3 Studio
Architect: Pan Fei,Wang Zhi
Client: Great Friend Outdoors Club
Location:12 Fangjia Hutong,Yonghegong Street,Dongcheng District,Beijing,China
Type: Restaurant
Building Area: 316 sqm
Materials: black brick, concrete, wood, metal corrugated sheet
Construction unit: Beijing today Design Co., Ltd
Start:2016.02
Completion: 2017.05
Photographer:Robot 3 Studio

Climbing the snow-capped mountain and going through desert, this friend is a senior backpacker who is operating a well-known outdoor supplies store in the industry. He commissioned us to transform the “Big House” located at Fangjia Hutong into a club at the end of 2016. The original intention is so simple. He hopes that there is music, beer and distant place.


The house was originally a barbecue shop. In the new century the landlord demolished the yard and built it as a brick-and-concrete structure. 


We’re just visitors who want to make something that should grow out of Hutong. It’s not patching up or substitution. We embark on the work in spring and finished in summer. Without drawings, we work together with the craftsmen every day. Without pre-set concept, we make an instinctive response during the building. We often make conflict so that by this way we avoid the experience and logical coherence. Gradually the environment and people adjust to the same frequency and growing state. We wander around in Hutong and bask in the sun at leisure.


The Old city of Beijing, seemed to be fading, is full of vigor. Time is changing and the concept of Chinese people has been changing. However, the ethical practices and living ideals of the Hutong have not changed. The culture of Beijing doesn’t lie in the high-rise buildings but in the streets and neighborhoods. The old houses of Hutong are not social symbols and cultural bonsai. The Hutong area is a reservation that hasn’t been completely invaded by various kinds of doctrines. There isn’t developer’s self-righteousness or the architect’s mysterious concept. There is only human’s simple desire, not the new or the old, not the oriental or western. If you like it, you would use it.


People live a good life here. Beijing’s old town is full of vigor. There are green trees, white pigeons, Douzhir (a fermented drink made from ground beans) and Peking food. There is no dilapidation but a thriving life.


We demolished the wall and make hole when spring  change into summer. We used the red bricks from a room in the adjacent hutong. The renovated second floor was demolished and reconstructed it as the second time. The original balcony roof was removed. The façade was not allowed, so we change it! For the third time it was forbidden, then we blocked it. Without door, we made a door from the side wall. We painted the red brick into different colors. Although neighbors are into it, when the club opens, the bricks are coated with cement.


We bury a seed. Then it sprouts. It grows tenaciously.