Phase 1: Posing Real Questions
I really don't know much about architecture in Xizhou but I know how they make the tiles for the roof of houses. They would use clay, cut it up, put it on this wheel like thing and spin it so it would be flat on all sides. I found it really fascinating because the person managed to cut the piece of clay up perfectly and basically with the same distance every time he did. I learned this in Lijiang when I went there for China Alive last year. I also know that in Xizhou, some buildings are decorated by the Bai designs. The gateways of houses are also quite "different" and very "crafted". Other than that I really have no idea.
In gerneral, I want to learn about the designs that they put on their houses and mostly about gateways/doors. After seeing a lot of images, I wanted to know what they are and how they make them. I would also want to learn if there is a story behind them as well. I also heard that there are magnificent wood carving on the gateways so it would be cool to learn about them.
I also found some general information that is posted on Phase 3. http://sasmicrocampus.org/node/3513
In order for me to learn about the architecture, I made some questions that I want answered and some possible answers to those questions:
How are houses actually structured?
Possible Answer: wooden frame with a bricks for all the walls.
Why do they build their structures this way?
Possible Answer: For the beauty of it. It may also help the structure stay up and be strong. May also allow the house to stay warm.
What is it made out of?
Possible Answer: wood, cement, brick, marble, etc.
Are there still people making these?
Possible Answer: most likely not since it is a technique used in the past. But there might still be people who are able to fix these houses when they have been damaged.
Around what period of time were these structures made? And what is so different about it?
Possible Answer: Qing Dynasty. It could be more colorful and there could be more details on their structures.
What sort of symbols are commonly used?
Possible Answer: nature, flowers, sun, chinese characters representing luck and wealth.
What colors are commonly used and why?
Possible Answer: bright colors such as blue and red. Chinese people favor the color red and I know that in Europe, they used to really like the color navy blue/blue/indigo as it was a very rich and beautiful color. It was also quite expensive.
How do they maintain the beauty of the house and structures?
Possible Answer: They do not. They just simply really care for the house or they repaint every few years. When the Chinese first painted/made the house, it could have used something special preventing it from being ruined. Also, there probably wouldn't be any acid rain around Xizhou preventing the architecture from getting ruined.
In order for me to dig deeper into this topic, I would need to know the basic structure of the house and what they are made out of. I have found out the two main types of structures for houses in Xizhou. I have also found out now that the houses are made up of bricks for the outside wall and mostly wood for the actual inside structure. They also seem to make bricks out of whatever they can find such as shells and just rocks of all shapes and sizes.