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As we all know, China is a great developing country in the world. With the development of China’s economy, more and more people are living in big cities with improved life qualities. But still, many people from other countries don’t know China very well. Three years ago, I went to America as an exchange student. When I visited an elementary school in California, one of child asked me, ‘do you live in caves?’ I was quite surprised when he asked me like this. And then I answered him ‘no, we don’t live in caves’. However, after all these times from that question, I found I was wrong, at least part of my answer was wrong. We do have cave-house and even in today, there still are some people who live in a cave-house in China.

The cave dwelling is an ancient form of residence on the Loess Plateau in northwest China. The history of this ‘dwelling’ can be traced back from more than 4,000 years ago. Caves are widely distributed in Shanxi, Henan, Hebei, Inner Mongolia provinces which are within Loess Plateau. In these areas, the loess layer is very thick, and some of them are even as thick as several tens of kilometers. The Chinese people used this geography to created holes and settled in. Cave-house is also called Green Building.

Next to cliff cave-house (Via Google)

There are two main types of cave-house. One is called ‘next to cliff cave-house’. Another type is called ‘Pit cave-house’. For Pit type, people will first find a flat ground and then dig a big hole like a quadrates. And finally make a cave-house according to the wall. Most of these holes were handmade. There are some advantages about cave-house. During summer, it will be very cool and comfortable. However, it will be very cold during winter. So, residents still need to prepare furnace. To be honest, it is not safe for people living in cave-house, because they are probably collapse along with the rain water.

Pit cave-house (Via Google)

Cave-house as a traditional Chinese residence type are now protected by Chinese government. Many places are developed as a tourism centre. So visitors could know cave-house better as its a traditional culture in China.

Reference

How to make a cave-house? And what is your experience living in a cave-house? Available at: https://www.zhihu.com/question/21336981

The definition of cave-house. Available at: https://baike.baidu.com/item/窑洞/1398766?fr=aladdin

 

School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509

Email: nicola.rutherford@ncl.ac.uk


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