A Little Bit of Beijing · Dashilar by Drawing Architecture Studio is a graphic novel on ten cases located in the hutongs selected from Dashilar Project, a redevelopment strategy for one of Beijing’s most original historic quarters.
Published during Beijing Design Week 2015, A Little Bit of Beijing · Dashilar is the latest publication by Li Han and Hu Yan, founders of Drawing Architecture Studio, after their award-winning title A Little Bit of Beijing (San Li Tun / 798 / Nan Luo Gu Xiang, awarded as China’s Most Beautiful Book in 2013). It is also a collaborative urban research project conceived by Drawing Architecture Studio and Dashilar Project.
In the hutongs around Yangmeizhu Xiejie in the south downtown of Beijing, as an unprecedented experiment of old city redevelopment, Dashilar Project has adopted a gentle and elegant approach: all the acquired old houses are remained untouched regardless their conditions and are rented to carefully selected new owners who have creative minds and are willing to be blended into hutong life.
A Little Bit of Beijing · Dashilar is a documentation on ten cases selected from Dashilar Project, including hutong renovation projects by architects, unfamiliar religious space, unique restaurants and cafes, and creative studios located in the hutongs. The authors try to not only present the beautiful, poetic and diverse charm of the life in the hutongs, but also encourage people to confront the difficulties and frustration. In this way, more and more forces might be attracted to pay attention to the issue of urban redevelopment.
Li Han and Hu Yan continued their exploration for the potential of architectural drawings. With precise lines and flat colorings, plans, elevations, sections, and axonometric projections transformed from 3D models are turned into sophisticated drawings with delicate details in a unique mechanical aesthetic feeling. By adding simple words to the drawings, the authors presented ten interviews in the form of graphic novel. Through these stories, the book showcases the relation among people, architecture and city not only in terms of space and function, but also of time and emotion. Such a fateful subject of architecture is graphically interpreted as an observation with patience, delicateness, and concentration.
As the further development for the graphic novel, Drawing Architecture Studio also created a collection called House of Drawings as an experiment to break the boundaries between architecture and drawings, three-dimension and two-dimension. Several architecture selected from the stories were represented in the form of three-dimensional paper models whose surface were covered with drawings in the graphic novels.
Besides these ten graphic stories, Drawing Architecture Studio also created Dashilar Panorama, an axonometric projection depicting the landscape of the Darshilar area. Based on the elevations of the architecture, the panorama represents the relation between hutongs and architecture from an extraordinary viewpoint. The addition of various environment, space, and figure details makes the panorama not only an observation and documentation on the space, but also a vivid rendering of the secular life.
In the final publication, architects Wang Hui from URBANUS and Zhu Qipeng from Original Architec are invited to contribute to the book, whose writings provide valuable resources for the readers to better understand the creation of this book. As the preface, A Little Bit of Li Han by Wang Hui gives in-depth discussion about the relation between drawings and city. Four Chapters of Dashilar by Zhu Qipeng tells vivid stories about historical backgrounds of the Dashilar area.
A Little Bit of Beijing · Dashilar
Project director: Li Han, Hu Yan
Executive project director: Zhang Xintong
Project team: Hu Jiming, Tan Zhipeng, Wang Pei, Li Aihua, Wang Zhiyan, Xiao Wei, Yu Minnan, Lu Zhiqin, Li Zhenghua, Tian Jiali, Wei Lei, Lu Yiping, He Yi, Wang Qing, Wang qi
Project initiative: Beijing Dashilar Liulichang Cultural Development Co. Ltd., Dashilar Platform
Project planning: Drawing Architecture Studio, Dashilar Platform: Jia Rong, Jiang Cen, Liang Ying, Liu Yuqing
English translation: Peijian Shen, Angelina Wong, Lorna Balmer