Today was my first of three days in the Hakka Villages of the Fujian Province. I spent most of the day just wandering around, trying to get a feel for the village and its people. The village is composed of mostly Tulou architecture, quite an interesting building typology that was developed from the 12th to the 20th centuries. From the outside these buildings appear as mud-made masses. The center is hollowed out to create a courtyard - a rather important component of the space. The Tulou dwellings in these numerous Hakka Villages were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008 because they are "exceptional examples of a building tradition and function exemplifying a particular type of communal living and defensive organization, and, in terms of their harmonious relationship with their environment". The wall are made of rammed-earth and at times can be up to 6 feet thick!
This will be my home for the next two nights. Not too shabby for a mere $5.75 a night!
The women work real hard around here...
The walls take on this rich, natural hue from the rammed-earth material.
A step through the entrance immediately reveals the courtyard space. In some cases (like the one below) there are several smaller buildings within the courtyard. Traditionally each Hakka dwelling was inhabited by several generations of one family. The design is a model for equality with each room being the same size and having the same facilites (or lack there of). From what I observed it seems that programmatically cooking and cleaning typically takes place on the ground floor while living and sleeping happens on the upper levels. This layout promotes a strong sense of community. In some cases these small shed-like spaces in the courtyard provide a private means for cooking, cleaning, and storage.
Typical courtyard elevation. (Public Bath)
Couldn't help but include this handsome Hakka man in this post.
Communal courtyard kitchen
It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood...