UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Beijing : housing form in transition: multimedia reader of Siheyuan and its contemporary interpretations Han, Xiaohui


This is a formal study of housing types in traditional and contemporary Beijing. The research is done largely with the aid of the computational tools. The final product is a computer multimedia file stored in CD-ROM. The background for this research is the rapid development in Beijing which is being extended into the inner city area where large amount of traditional houses still exist. The central issue of this study is the attitudes towards 'traditional' and 'new' and the comparison of them. It takes 1949 as the year for the division of 'traditional' and 'new' as that is the years of the establishment of the People's Republic of China. Therefore, it takes Siheyuan which was the dominant housing type before 1949 as the traditional type and some prototypes found in post-1949 period China under the category of 'new' housing types. The research mainly contains three parts. It starts with study of the traditional courtyard house - Siheyuan, examines the historical background which have enabled this type of house to have existed for centuries. It then take examples in post-1949 China to analyze the new interpretations. The political, economic and other social factors are examined for a better understanding of these built forms. Based on the above research and analysis, it finally comes up with conclusions of the forms and made recommendations for the future planning/design activities. Exploration of the potential of the computational tools comprises a large part of the study. Exploration of multimedia tools is carried out through the research. The final product is academic (architectural) and technical (computational) as well.

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