Tulou Earth Building – Hakka Houses
Location: Fujian / Guangdong
In 1960s, when US started to use military satellites to gather intelligent information, they found numerous “nuclear reactors” hidden in the mountains of Fujian Province in southern China. Greatly alarmed, they sent officers to investigate the situation, only to find that these “nuclear reactors” or “missile silos” were in fact harmless earth buildings where the Hakkas had been living for centuries!
The Hakka were originally immigrants from northern China who settled in the southern provinces. Tulou/Earth building are the architecture types unique to these people. To protect themselves in conflicts with native people, these buildings are typically designed for defensive purposes and consist of one entrance and no windows at ground level. These houses were often round in shape and internally divided into many compartments for food storage, living quarters, ancestral temple, armory etc. The largest houses covered over 40,000 m² and it is not unusual to find surviving houses of over 10,000 m².