Hospitable tourism

13 : 10 : 2015 Humble Hostel : Cao Pu : Beijing

Beijing – A new hostel in an ancient neighbourhood is immersing tourists in communal living and returning space to the community.

  • A retractable wall in the renovated hutong house lets tourists stay in peace alongside local residents
  • The pilot, launched at Beijing Design Week 2015, is taking bookings through Airbnb at €14 a night

Architecture practice Archicao renovated an abandoned 12-square-metre section of a Beijing courtyard in a project that was unveiled during Beijing Design Week. Located in a traditional hutong, part of Beijing’s vanishing network of courtyard homes, Humble Hostel balances the demands of tourism and regeneration with sensitivity to local residents’ concerns.

‘The arrival of young people would serve to further congest the yard, so we needed to find a way to live peacefully with the neighbours,’ Archicao’s Cao Pu told Dezeen.

The compact three-bed design features a retractable external wall that can be drawn back while tourists are out to return common space to the courtyard community. Up to three or four individual homes can share a single open air courtyard, which are used for storing bikes and sundries, as well as providing an outdoor space to eat and chat. ‘This will create breathing space in the chaotic hutong yard life,’ says Cao.

The Big Picture: Millennial travellers are seeking experiences that re-invest in local communities. To learn more, look out for our forthcoming macrotrend, New Bricolage Living, out this week. 

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