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18 Nov 2019
MAD's organic bubbles provide new spaces in Beijing community
By Stu Robarts
MAD's organic bubbles provide new spaces in Beijing community
The stainless steel bubbles are designed to fit into specific spaces
Photo: MAD Architects
MAD Architects have inserted a number of organically-shaped bubbles into the fabric of Beijing's Qianmen district to provide new space, new use cases and incentives for younger generations to return to the area.

The Hutong Bubble 218 project sees organically-shaped interstitial interventions inserted into the restrictive context of a former hospital on a hutong – a narrow street or alley.

The hospital had already been converted into accommodation for around 20 families.

The stainless steel bubbles are designed to fit into specific spaces, with one emerging through a roof connecting two levels, another positioned on a roof with access only from outside and a third appearing to burst through a courtyard wall.

They have been created for us as a meeting room, a co-working office and a gallery for the local community, providing facilities that weren't previously there without taking up existing space.

These use cases are also intended to attract young people back to the area to help revitalise it, with uses case beyond just residential offerings aligned with their needs.

It is hoped that a more mixed-use locality will give the community a platform from which to grow both socially and economically.

Hutong Bubble 218 is a continuation of MAD's 2009 project Hutong Bubble 32, in which it extended a house in the Dongcheng district of Beijing with one of its bubble-like interventions.

Design work on the project began in 2015 and it was completed only recently.

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