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Triple understanding of Guanzhong Narrow Courtyard and its house space


Architecture itself is a witness to social and cultural development, so the study on it should not only focus on the material symbols but also pay more attention to the multiple roles played by its material space in a specific social–cultural construction from multiple perspectives, residential buildings are no exception. Based on the dialectical analysis of Levi Strauss’s house society concept and Lefebvre’s spatial ternary theory, this paper attempts to sort out the triple theory of the house space; taking Chinese well-preserved Guanzhong Narrow Courtyard in the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368–1912) as an example, it starts from the three aspects of housing space which are material presentation, reconstruction and innovation, and potential circulating capital in the social production and reproduction to explore a qualitative research of the house space, and tries to reappear the metaphorical relationship between housing space of Chinese Guanzhong Narrow Courtyard and social–cultural construction in a historical period of social and cultural development, and explain its profound connotation; from the perspective of sociology, it provides inspiration and lays a foundation for the research on the design of the house space in the transition from the traditional society to the modern society in the specific area.

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  1. Room is a special term for Chinese architecture, which is a unit used to express the width of a building's plane. The size of a room is 3 meters or so.

  2. Adobe house is the house that uses mud for a wall, the inside and outside of the wall material is mud.

  3. Sha room is a term named by people in the Guanzhong area. It is usually used for son and daughter's living, which has a single-sloped roof facing the yard.

  4. Zhuge Liang (181–234), courtesy name Kongming, was a politician, military strategist, writer, engineer and inventor in ancient China.

  5. Xunzi (third century BCE) was a Confucian philosopher, sometimes reckoned as the third of the three great classical Confucians (after Confucius and Mencius).


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Correspondence to Qiao Ning.

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Liu, Y., Ning, Q. Triple understanding of Guanzhong Narrow Courtyard and its house space. J Hous and the Built Environ 36, 521–537 (2021).

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  • House space
  • Guanzhong Narrow Courtyard
  • Triple understanding
  • Social–cultural construction
  • Circulating capital