It's been two years since I was shown this intriguing proposal at a lecture by Ma Yansong. Though' I am quite surprised one has actually been built, it's much delighted to see that the outcome does not seem as alien in the context as the models & renderings earlier. All thanks to the reflective surface which absorbs the readily available textures of its surrounding.
As an effort to save the rapidly shrinking fabric of ancient hutongs, conversions of old courtyard houses into modern dwellings, studios and etc. have been carried out at various parts of the fabric by the conscious-minded, to help the traditional built environment in re-adapting to new ways of living in the Beijing.
I'm not sure to what extent such effort has gone thus far, but we can be optimistic that forward-thinking ideas are flowing into these narrow alleys of hutongs, slowly forming a new situation that nurtures creativities, and more of these delightful bubbles!
One good example of modern intervention on traditional Chinese urban fabric. Not so much hostility, it actually reminds me of the decorative (sometimes symbolic) huge stones found in many traditional Chinese gardens, ie. the imperial gardens.
More project descriptions at MAD Ltd.
images from: http://www.i-mad.com/?go/#/projects/status/56/
posted by afterrabbit