In the Fujian Province on the southeast coast of China, photographer Ryan Pyle documents the traditional “apartments” inhabited by groups of Hakka throughout the region. Referred to as Tulou, they are typically round, multi-story structures, and were originally designed to act as both large fortresses and multi-family building complexes. To protect residents from attack, the Tulou have only one exterior entrance and no windows at ground level. Inside, living spaces look out onto an open central courtyard. The ground level usually serves utilitarian purposes (food storage, well, livestock, etc.) while upper levels contain actual family dwellings. Up to 80 families can live in a single Tulou.
Last year, UNESCO bestowed World Heritage Status upon the Tulou, describing the structures as “exceptional examples of a building tradition and function exemplifying a particular type of communal living and defensive organization.”
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Source: Global Post