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The Architectural Characteristics of Tulou, a Chinese Housing Type

(Journal of the Architectural Institute of Korea, Vol.15 No.11, November 1999)


The Tulou is a Chinese multi-story and multi-family housing type, originally built by Hakka, an ethnic group derived from the Han race. It has a simple geometric composition consisting of a large mass enclosing a spacious communal courtyard. The objective of this study is to describe the architectural characteristics of Tulou in relation to its constituent house-unit types: the one-bay, multi-bay, and composite types. As a result of this study, it has been found out that the architectural characteristics of Tulou are integral to the compositions of house-units, with the exception of the overall shape of the communal building which is related to the formal type of the Tulou. The round-shape Tulou with one-bay type house-units is considered the most typical Tulou in that it has equal house-units closely related to the communal space.