Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master in Interior Architecture [Adaptive Reuse]


Interior Architecture

First Advisor

Jonathan Bell

Second Advisor

Markus Berger

Third Advisor

Julia Bernert


The Beijing Siheyuan is typical and representative of traditional Chinese residential construction. It is not only an architectural form but also a reflection of the traditional modes of living in Beijing. However, with the changes in family structure and people’s living needs, the spatial pattern of traditional courtyards has been unable to meet the life and economic needs of modern society. The scarce public space, poor living environment, and the low-quality of residents’ life led Siheyuan to lose its original status. Despite these challenges, whether for the protection of the overall style of Beijing’s old city or the renewal of modern urban functions, the Siheyuan is crucial.

Based on the theory of this unique typology, this thesis summarizes Beijing Siheyuan’s current challenges and development opportunities by combing through the historical development process of Siheyuan in the Baita Temple area of Beijing for alternative forms of transformation. Through the study of domestic Siheyuan transformation cases, and the latest protection strategies in the area, as well as direct surveys with residents on the current situation of Beijing's Baita Temple area, a balanced view of Beijing's important courtyard cluster area, is obtained. On this basis, this thesis summarized the building modules of Beijing Siheyuan, and through organic integration, put forward effective suggestions for the protection and renewal of the Beijing Baita Temple area.

The spatial sequence of courtyards is reconsidered considering two priorities: the public and private needs of the courtyard space and the interaction with the community environment. The motifs of the public space and residential unit are extracted from the traditional courtyard structure, and the traditional two-layer courtyard is taken as an example to expand and upgrade public space, reorganize and interpret the residential units. Combining the logic of the traditional Chinese construction system, the original architectural sequence that is no longer suitable for modern lifestyles has been optimized and transformed.

The design is based on the user's point of view, revolving around the concept of “Simultaneity”, giving residents a sense of belonging. Meanwhile, without affecting the traditional appearance and form of the courtyard, this design bases on the people-oriented purpose, injects the functional logic into modern life, making the residents have a more authentic life experience.


View exhibition online: Zhuoqi Xu, The future of Beijing urban courtyards



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.