Residential houses in China include different kinds of public and private architectures, such as ancestral halls, guildhalls, academy buildings, and other terraces for sightseeing. Most of the residential houses were built in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, manifesting essential connotation of traditional culture. Constructions and buildings where princes and imperial members live in were mostly built in the Qing Dynasty. Houses of common people in China were also reserved. Particularly, local-style dwelling houses are different in styles and structures, directly reflecting local characteristics in terms of regionalism.


A small or medium-size siheyuan usually has its main or only entrance gate built at the southeastern corner of the quadrangle with a screen wall just inside the prevent outside from peeping in.

Such a resident offers space, comfortably and quite privacy. It is also good for security as well as protection against dust and storms. Grown with plants and flowers, the court is also a sort of garden.

siheyuan (quadrangle: a compound with houses around a square courtyard (Beijing)).

All the quadrangles, as product of feudal society, were built in accordance with a strict set of rules from their size and style one could tell whether they belonged to private individuals or the powerful and rich.
The simple house of an ordinary person has only one courtyard with the main building on the north facing, across the court, the southern building with rooms of northern exposure and flanked on the sides by the buildings of eastern and western chambers. The mansion of the titled or very rich family would have two or more courtyards, one behind another, with the main building separated from the view of the southern building by a wall with a fancy gate or by a guoting (walk-through pavilion). Behind the main building there would be a lesser house in the rear and, connected with the main quadrangle, small "corner courtyards".

Local-style dwelling houses in Anhui:

Most residential houses in Anhui have two storeys with roof-tips pointing to sky.

White walls and perfect outline of structures stand for typical Jiangnan residential houses, neat and elegant.

More pictures of other styles of houses (minju)

screen wall
round storeyed