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Chinese Civilian Residence

   Siheyuan
Residential construction in different parts of China is also called civilian residential housing which is a basic type of architecture. Due to the vast expanse of China, the presence of many ethnic groups, different climatic conditions and ways of life, the residences of people in different parts of the country differ in terms of design and style. The most representative civilian residences in China are the Siheyuan of Beijing (běi jÄ«ng sì hé yùan 北京四合院), Cave Dwellings (yáo dòng 窑洞) of the Loess Plateau (huáng tǔ gāo yuán 黄土高原) northwest China, the Earthen Tower (tǔ lóu 土楼) of Kejia (or Hakka) people (kè jiā rén 客家人) in Fujian (fú jiàn shěng 福建省) and Guangdong provinces (guǎng dōng shěng 广东省), and the Mongolian yurt (méng gǔ bāo 蒙古包) in Mongolian nationality.

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Siheyuan (四合院)
Siheyuan is a traditional residence that was commonly found throughout Beijing and the northern China. SiheyuanIt is a courtyard surrounded by four buildings which are normally positioned along the north-south and east-west axes. The residence is situated in the north of the compound and faces south, mostly consisting of inner and outer yards. The building positioned to the north and facing the south is considered the main house (zhèng fáng 正房), serving as the living room and bedroom of the owner or head of the family. There are two wing-rooms (xiāng fáng 厢房) in each side of the east and west, which are for the younger generations. The north-facing houses are generally used for servants or for stacking sundries. The entrance gate, usually painted vermilion and with copper door knockers on it, is usually at the southeastern corner of the compound. Normally, there is a screen wall (yíng bì 影壁) for privacy inside the gate. All of the rooms around the courtyard have large windows facing onto the yard and small windows high up on the back wall facing out onto the street. The layout of siheyuan represents the character of legitimacy and preciseness of the people in northern China. According to the historical discovery analyses, the Siheyuan residence appeared more than 2,000 years ago.

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Cave Dwellings (窑洞)
Cave dwellingCave dwellings are mainly distributed in central and west provinces like Henan (hé nán shěng 河南省), Shanxi (shān xÄ« shěng 山西省), and Shaanxi (shǎn xÄ« shěng 陕西省), where the loess is of great depth. The loess has little seepage and a very strong vertical nature, which provides a very good precondition for the development of cave dwellings. The cave dwelling is cool in summer, warm in winter and saves space. It is a harmonious combination of natural environment and human activities. Traditional cave dwellings are round, which seems dexterous and lively in monotonous loess. Cave dwelling shows the concept that the heaven is round and the earth is square, and the window high on the circular arch can let sunshine go into the cave so that people in the cave can fully enjoy the sunshine. There are three types of cave dwelling, which are earth kiln (tǔ yáo 土窑), stone kiln (shí yáo 石窑) and brick kiln cave dwellings (zhuān yáo 砖窑).

The Earthen Tower (土楼)
The Earthen Tower is the residences of Kejia people in Fujian and Guangdong provinces. The ancestor of Kejia people were Han people who migrated to the south from the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River (huáng hé 黄河) over 1900 years ago. Earthen TowerThey built large residences of earthen towers so as to protect their family. One such tower is able to hold a score of families of a whole clan with a total of several hundred people. The towers are round or square in shape, and the round-shaped tower is the most impressive. It is made up of two or three circles of houses. The outer circle could be more than ten meters high, with 100 to 200 rooms. The ground floor is used as kitchens and dinning rooms while the second floor is used for storage. The third and fourth floors are the living quarters and bedrooms. The second circle has two stories with 30 to 50 rooms. They are mostly used as rooms for guests. In the middle there is an ancestral hall with a holding capacity of several hundred people where pubic activities are carried out. Within an earthen tower, there are bathrooms, toilets and a well. The huge size and the unique design of the earthen tower are highly praised by many architects all over the world.

Mongolian yurts (蒙古包)
The Mongolian felt tent in northwest China is called Mongolian yurts. The Mongolian yurt is round. The big one can hold six hundred people, and the small one has a capacity of about twenty people. The Mongolian yurt is usually set up in the place where it is suitable for grazing. People always draw a suitable circle at first. And then begin to set up the yurt according to the circle. When it is finished, people decorate the inner of yurt with flowers, carpet or mirrors. Nowadays, there are furniture and household appliances in Mongolian yurt, which make people’s life more comfortable. The emergence of Mongolian yurts is closely related to their nomadic lifestyle. Mongolians always move about to seek new water sources and pastures and the Mongolian yurt can meet their requirements.
            Mongolian yurts

中国民居

      中国各地的居住建筑,又称民居。居住建筑是最基本的建筑类型。由于我国地域辽阔,民族众多,以及各地区的自然环境和人文情况不同,各地居民的房屋也显现出多样化的面貌,形成了多姿多彩的民居风格。其中比较有特色的有北京四合院、陕西河南的窑洞、福建的土楼、蒙古族的蒙古包等。

四合院
      四合院是北京地区乃至华北地区的传统住宅。是由东、西、南、北四面房子围合起来形成的内院式住宅,其基本特点是按南北轴线对称布置房屋和院落,坐北朝南,大门一般开在东南角,门内建有影壁,门窗开向院子,对外不开窗,外人看不到院内的活动。通常分前、内两院,两院之间设垂花门。内院是住宅的中心。在中轴线上南向为正房,坐南朝北的房称南房,两侧为厢房。Siheyuan正房是长辈的起居室,厢房则供晚辈起居用,这种庄重的布局,亦体现了华北人民正统、严谨的传统性格。据史料显示,四合院早在2000多年前就出现了。

窑洞
      窑洞是黄土高原的产物,陕北农民的象征。它主要分布在河南、山西和陕西等黄土层又深又厚的地方。窑洞建筑最大的特点就是冬暖夏凉,节省空间,它是自然环境与人文活动的和谐统一。传统的窑洞空间从外观上看是圆拱形,虽然很普通,但是在单调的黄土为背景的情况下,圆弧形更显得轻巧而活波,这种源自自然的形式,不仅体现了传统思想里天圆地方的理念,同时更重要的是门洞处高高的圆拱加上高窗,在冬天的时候可以使阳光进一步深入到窑洞的内侧,从而可以充分的利用太阳辐射。窑洞主要分为三种:土窑、石窑和砖窑。

土楼
      土楼主要分布在福建、广东等地。客家人的祖先是1900多年前从黄河中下游地区迁移到南方的汉族人。为了保护家族安全,客家人创造了这种庞大的民居—土楼。一座土楼里可以住下几十户人家,几百口人。土楼有圆形的也有方形的。其中最有特色的是圆形土楼,楼有两三圈组成,外圈十多米高,有一二百个房间,是生活居住区;第二圈两层,一般是客房;中间是祖堂,能容下几百人进行公共活动。Cave Dwelling土楼里有水井、浴室、厕所等,就像一座小城市。客家土楼高大、奇特;设计与建造很有科学性、实用性和观赏性于,受到了全世界很多建筑大师的称赞。

蒙古包
      蒙古包是蒙古族牧民居住的一种房子。蒙古包呈圆形,有大有小,大者,可容纳600多人;小者可以容纳20个人。蒙古包的架设很简单,主要由架木、苫毡、绳带三大部分组成一般是搭建在水草适宜的地方,根据蒙古包的大小先画一个画圈,然后便可以开始按照圈的大小搭建。蒙古包搭好后,人们进行包内装饰,铺上厚厚的地毯,四周挂上镜框和招贴花。现在一些家具电器也进了蒙古包,人们的生活十分舒畅欢乐。蒙古包的出现与蒙古人游动的生活方式有关,蒙古人不停地走动以寻求新的水资源和牧草,而蒙古包正能满足这种生活。



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