Hakka Tulou, Fujian, China . © unknown

'Mostly built between the 12th and the 20th centuries, the Tulou are large fortified buildings representing a specific and traditional housing type of the Fujian province of Southern China. Their recurring layout is made up of a thick enclosure wall, rectangular or circular, which hosts the living and storage areas and a central courtyard with a small building in the middle used for ceremonies. With a height between three and five stories, a Toulou can house up to 80 families and contains in itself all the feature of an entire village.

The type was born mostly for defensive reasons since armed bandits plagued southern China from the 12th to the 19th centuries and it proved to be really effective against armed attacks. The Tulou have commonly been built by the Hakka populations, immigrants from northern China who settled in the southern provinces. The peripheral walls of the fortified structure, with a thickness of up to 1.8 m, are usually built of rammed earth, mixed with stone, bamboo with a lumber framework and other materials available on site, providing the building of a good insulation as well as a natural ventilation. The last floor is covered by a cantilevered slate rooftops and there is usually only one gate serving as an entry to the building.'


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