China's Old Dwellings

  • About the Book
  • China's Old Dwellings is the most comprehensive critical examination of China's folk architectural forms in any language. It and its companion volume, China's Living Houses: Folk Beliefs, Symbols, and Household Ornamentation (UH Press, 1999), together form a landmark study of the environmental, historical, and social factors that influence housing forms for nearly a quarter of the world's population. Both books draw on the author's thirty years of fieldwork and extensive travel in China as well as published and unpublished material in many languages.

    China's Old Dwellings begins by tracing the interest in Chinese vernacular buildings in the twentieth century. Early chapters detail common and distinctive spatial components, including the interior and exterior modular spaces that are axiomatic components of most Chinese dwellings as well as conventional structural components and building materials common in Chinese construction. Later chapters examine representative housing types in the three broad cultural realms–northern, southern, and western–into which China has been divided. Knapp completes his survey with an exploration of China's old dwellings in the context of the rapid economic and social changes that are destroying so many of them.

  • Subject Areas