HP Ren

Shiyuan House


Natural daylight and natural ventilation is the key concept in the courtyard design, not only for a functional purpose but also to remain aesthetically appealing in different seasons.
In 2021, after the remodel, Shiyuan was granted the German PHI (the Passive House Institute) Pre-Certificate, and meanwhile, was the first experimental project in Northern China to have integrated the ancient post and lintel style with (Western) passive house energy-saving technology. Its significance lies in that by using a traditional 5 structural bay for reference (with the master bedroom and living room located in the north receiving daylight), this project set up parameters for other projects in general, by adopting the (Western) principle of passive sunroom with low energy consumption to achieve the “warm-in-winter & cool-in-summer” effect on constant temperature and constant humidity.


PHI-certified software has been used to conduct thermal simulations around the building envelope.
During the design process, various architectural components were carefully studied and developed to achieve a comfortable and efficient result.
By using digital tools alongside the handmade traditional craft, the old courtyard house has been carefully renovated.


Shiyuan’s courtyard features versatility or multi-purpose space design:

  • 1 neat small yard and 1 sunken yard; encircled space around 3 trees (cherry-apple, lilacs, and persimmon)
  • 10 arched tunnel portals made of bricks, old and new
  • 2 bathrooms (via natural daylighting enhanced by careful window landscaping design)
  • 2 kitchens (both naturally lit against a background of coordinated window design)
  • 4 stairs
  • 3 lofts: 1 patio; an anteroom merging into the living room; kitchen; tea-room; studio (for painting); indoor and outdoor storage rooms; a flexible, reconfigurable stage; and a recording room…

On design parameters, Shiyuan designed the living room according to the requirements of chamber music performance.