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Courtyard Houses
residence with Chinese architectural characteristics
Courtyard house (Siheyuan) is a type of residence commonly found mainly in Shanxi, Shaanxi, Hebei provinces and most famously in Beijing. The name "siheyuan" literally means a courtyard surrounded by four buildings which are positioned along the north-south and east-west axes.

As early as the Western Zhou Dynasty, Siheyuan with a complete layout were already built, carrying the most outstanding and fundamental characteristics of Chinese architectures. Siheyuan offers space, comfort and privacy. It is also good for security and protection against dust and storms. With plants, rocks and flowers, the yard is also a garden and looks like an open-air, large living room.

The siheyuan today mostly house multiple families, with courtyards providing extra living space. Siheyuan are being torn down to solve the problem of overcrowding and have been replaced by modern apartment blocks. There are over 3,000 well-preserved courtyards remaining in Beijing, over 539 are in Cultural and Historical Conservation Areas.
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