We’ve all heard it – foreigners waxing lyrical about the demise of Beijing’s famed hutong and courtyard culture, and no doubt we’ve all seen the ubiquitous purplish brick and rich orange sand that lines the alleyways, waiting to forge new structures to come. But it would be churlish to say that courtyards are disappearing completely, given that some may just be moving skywards.

Last week, the Financial Times, provided a glimpse into the Olympic Park-facing home of Veronica Chou, president of Iconix China, and her father, the billionaire tycoon, Silas Chou, demonstrating how the mega-rich are now repurposing classic Chinese architecture to suit their needs (and budgets) both on the ground and above the city.

As Chou states, “We are Chinese and we’re, I guess, proud to be Chinese. Once China started developing, we wanted a real authentic Chinese place. They redid all the blueprints and changed the whole structure of the building so they could accommodate us.”

With an indoor swimming pool, rotating seasonal garden, electric glass roof and 23rd-floor views, Veronica Chou’s apartment is unlike anything we’d be lucky enough to see any time soon and may be the final step in removing courtyards from the grasp of ordinary Chinese and foreigners alike.

If you’d like to know more about Beijing’s hutong culture, why not take a trip to the Shijia Hutong Museum?

Photo: Marc van der Chijs (Flickr)


Visit the original source and full text: the Beijinger Blog