Homology, Hierarchy, and Space - A Case Study of Wu’s House
This paper is a case study of Wu’s house, which is located at the Majiamiao hutong, only several blocks away from the imperial palace—the Forbidden City in Beijing. It is a typical quadrangle called Siheyuan, or "four-side enclosed courtyard". Historians declared that, judging by the architectural style and interior decoration, the house might have been constructed in the late Ming dynasty , which means the history of the house could go back for more than 400 years. The complete story of the house and its owners can be divided into three parts: first, a house for a large feudal family before 1949; secondly, a house for a famous dramatist until 1966; and finally, a house for the city poor from the Great Cultural Revolution on. During 400 years of social evolution and revolution, especially in the past 50 years, the house and the families who lived in it underwent great changes. The precise homology and strict hierarchy in Siheyuan, implied by the order of orientation and scale of the buildings within the house, was weakened gradually by the “revolutionists” who tried to establish an absolute equality among the people in every detail of their lives, including their house. However, never will a house like Siheyuan be equal to every member in it because it was born of politics.
Chaohe Chen, Yong Huang and Guangfan Li
X. J. Li "Homology, Hierarchy, and Space - A Case Study of Wu’s House", Advanced Materials Research, Vols. 243-249, pp. 1694-1700, 2011