Photographs Document Beijing's Hutongs Before the Brickings

By That's Beijing, November 16, 2017

0 0

Photographed by Beijing-based photographer Tan Siok Siok, the narrow hutong alleyways near Lama Temple don’t entirely exist. At least, not as shown here. 

For her photo book Ren Zai Beijing, Tan accidentally created a time capsule. She captured everyday scenes along Fangjia Hutong and other nearby hutongs with her iPhone, not knowing they’d be bricked over – or as official parlance goes, ‘beautified’ – just a few months later.

The Singapore-native has taken photos of her neighborhood as a “creative challenge,” daily for the past five years. As Tan tells That’s Beijing: “What fascinated me was the impermanence of everything in the hutongs.”

READ MORE: Citywide Renovations Continue to Change the Face of Beijing

The past few months of construction have made Tan’s point all too clear. “It feels like the timing was fortuitous and now I’ve captured a tiny slice of history,” the photographer says. “Within the span of seven years, I’ve seen Fangjia Hutong go from a quiet alley to ‘hipster grand central’ with bars, restaurants and cafes and now back to being a quiet hutong.

“I miss my old haunts that have moved out of Fangjia since the city renovation. [But] I’m curious to find out how the hutong will be transformed. I hope the efforts will be creative and imaginative and we’ll see a revitalized hutong.”

But for now, Tan’s stark black-and-white images depict the area as many of us came to know it – and are unlikely to see again. 

Photos by Tan Siok Siok

more news

You Can Now Fly From Shanghai to Beijing On a Toy Story-Themed Plane

The aircraft will fly between Shanghai and Beijing, and extend to additional cities including Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chengdu in the future.

It's Official, Cars are the Main Culprits Behind PM2.5 Levels in Beijing

That's right, coal burning is no longer to blame.

Opening Date Announced for Beijing's Brand New Airport

Construction is entering its final countdown.

NHL Bringing Pro Ice Hockey to Beijing and Shenzhen this Fall

The teams will take to the ice in Shenzhen on September 15 before heading north to Beijing on the 19th.

That's Beijing Horoscopes: May 2018

Finally a horoscope that understands your life in Beijing.

Beijing Metro Premieres New Mobile Payment App

Passengers will be able to pay for their commute from the comfort of their own phone.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at ThatsBeijing for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in Beijing With

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday


Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Beijing!

Visit the archives

Get the App. Your essential China city companion.