Chinese Rural Architecture

The richly diverse vernacular architectural traditions of China are unrivaled in the world. No nation has as long an unbroken tradition and, with the dissolution of the former Soviet Union, none is as ethnically diverse. China, a nation of 56 nationalities living in disparate natural landscapes with widely varying climatic conditions, is certainly more varied in its housing patterns than is the case in single nations such as the United States or even in comparison with multi-national Europe. View a photo essay of Chinese Rural Architecture by Oliver Laude from ATLAS Magazine.

Split House


Located in the mountains of northern Beijing by the Great Wall, the Split House is designed by perhaps China’s most internationally acclaimed architect, Yung Ho Chang of Beijing’s first private architecture practice, Atelier Feichang Jianzhu. The house is split in the middle to bring in the scenery. A courtyard, or outdoor living area, is enclosed by the mountains on one side and the house, with its two split halves, on the other. The line between the natural landscape and manmade architecture is thus blurred. The angle between the two halves can be adjusted to fit the house onto various hill sites. The structure is made of laminated wood with rammed earth walls, which is well insulated with minimum environmental impact.