Since so many Chinese people are moving to Vancouver, I started to think about their houses.
One of the most striking aspects of Chinese domestic architecture is the practice of making houses face south. Archeologists have found that many Neolithic-period houses were rectangular with a south-facing door.These early dwellings no longer exist, but houses in China, the earliest of which date from the Ming dynasty, also show a tendency to face south. Houses built today are also built facing south, if space allows.
Detail from the Ming dynasty Carpenter's Manual showing the best places to site a house.
A south-facing house has several advantages based on Feng-shui concepts.
Feng-shui concept also directed the kinds of material used in buildings. Combined with the location of the building, the proper building materials were thought to re-direct beneficial energy for the inhabitants. The most common building materials for house in China are earth and wood, both of which have positive associations.
Wood framework systems are important to consider. Because they determine the size of the house.
The basic building block of Chinese architecture is
the bay or "the space between", which is the space defined by roof supports. This is often represented in modern houses by the number of windows or other openings in a wall.
Chinese houses almost always consist of an odd number of bays ; An even number of bays are considered unlucky. Therefore, Three or five bay houses are common.
It was not easy to see what a house contained by peeking through the front gate. Courtyards were constructed so that when one looked through the first doorway of the houses only a brick screen was visible.
Access to the rest of the house required first turning a corner. Ideally, the main door did not line up exactly with the inner quarters.
Privacy was a main concern. This is also why walls had few if any windows. In addition, according to Chinese folk beliefs, bad spirits can only move in a straight line, so a screen blocks their access to interior living space.
Happy Chinese New Year !!
-Home Styling and Decorations
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