The View from Inside a Hakka Round House

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Original Chinese Language Article By: http://tieba.baidu.com

(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

Hakka earthen-built structures are unique not only in Asia, but are also acknowledged as an outstanding example of world architecture.  It is an unusual construction skill, in that it developed entirely amongst ordinary (Hakka) people at village level.  The design of the Hakka buildings are perfectly balanced, compact, and yet spacious.  In fact the Hakka building ability is an important part of China’s ancient construction tradition in general.

Hakka building construction involves buildings that are both round and square in design, but in Yongqing County, south-west Fujian province, the Hakka buildings are exclusively 360 degrees round in structure, up to 4000 square meters in size, and more than 10 meters high at the outer wall.  The Hakka people developed a highly efficient and outstanding method for designing, building and decorating very large communal buildings using all natural materials.  The Hakka round house is the most well-known example of Hakka architecture and is often considered the first such structure to appear under the divine sky.  Its structure has been likened to a mushroom sprouting out of the earth, or a UFO landing from the sky.

The Hakka round house often contains an entire community.  In the past, many Hakka generations were born, lived and died living exclusively within these structures.  Hakka people were married and raised children without recourse to travelling elsewhere, or seeking assistance from external sources – the Hakka round houses were entirely self-sufficient.  The Hakka round houses contain ample numbers of bedrooms, dining rooms, kitchens, store rooms, a large number of rooms for various uses, an ancestral hall, water wells, ventilation, an inner courtyard, perhaps as many as five storeys, numerous bathrooms, plumbing, and even mills and various other agricultural facilities.  The Hakka people exclusively used compressed (or ‘stamped’) earth to make the bricks.  The wall at ground level was dug 1.5m into the ground, and was 3m thick.  As the wall got higher, the thickness of the structure decreased, with the top most section measuring only 0.9m in width.  Logs act as internal supports for the entire stricture, with planks of wood being laid to form walkways and partitions (forming strong walls) for the many rooms.  There was a single, internal spiralling staircase that started at ground level and worked its way up to the top most section.  The earthen structure is a very good defence against enemy attack because it was difficult to burn and due to the thickness of the wall it was virtually impossible for an enemy using ancient technology to breach.  In the summer the earthen structure was cool, and in the winter it worked to retain the heat.

Prevailing conditions in the South of China meant that the Hakka people often kept themselves to themselves.  They developed a very self-contained culture that was reliant upon a strong village defence and good architecture.  It is thought that the Hakka qualities of being hard-working, clever, trustworthy, hospitable and strong, led to the ingenious design of the round house.  In fact, in China today the Hakka people are very well known and greatly respect – and this explains why any people are attracted as tourists to pay a visit to these remarkable structures.

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2016.

Original Chinese Language Article:

http://tieba.baidu.com/p/499920858

【娜式土楼】客家人的土楼,世界的遗传!(图文)

客家土楼是东方文明的一颗明珠,是世界上独一无二的神话般的山村民居建筑,是中国古建筑的一朵奇葩,它以历史悠久、风格独特、规模宏大、结构精巧等特点独立于世界民居建筑艺术之林。

土楼大多为方形或圆形,主要分布在永定,全县有圆楼360座,方楼4000余座。尤以奇特的圆形土楼最富于客家传统色彩,最为震憾人心。

圆形土楼是客家民居的典范,堪称天下第一楼。它象地下冒出来的“蘑菇”,如同自天而降的“飞碟”。

这种圆楼都由二、三圈组成,由内到外,环环相套,外圈高十余米,四层,有一、二百个房间,一层是厨房和餐厅,二层是仓库,三、四层是卧室;二圈两层有三五十个房间,一般是客房,中一间是祖堂,是居住在楼内的几百人婚、丧、喜、庆的公共场所。楼内还有水井、浴室、磨房等设施。土楼采用当地生土夯筑,不需钢筋水泥,墙的基础宽达三米,底层墙厚1.5米,向上依次缩小,顶层墙厚也不小于0.9米。然后沿圆形外墙用木板分隔成众多的房间,其内侧为走廊。

土楼除具有防卫御敌的奇特作用外,还具有防震、防火、防盗以及通风采光好等特点。由于土墙厚度大,隔热保温,冬暖夏凉。

客家土楼闪烁客家人的智慧,土楼格局的恢宏,令人为之肃然起敬。客家的民俗更令人陶醉,客家人世代相传,朝夕相处,团结友爱,和睦共居的大家族的独特的生活方式,淳朴敦厚,和善好客,刻苦耐劳的民风;传统文化的可见、可触、可感更吸引众多的游客的莫大兴趣。

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