confucius institute

Chinese Houses: The Architectural Heritage of a Nation

Presenter: Dr. Ronald G.Knapp, SUNY New Paltz
Date: Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Time: 3:30pm
Location: Art and Sciences AS014

Dr. Ronald G.Knapp has been carrying out research on the cultural and historical geography of China's countryside since 1965 and more recently in the United States. Trained in geography and history at Stetson University (BA 1962) and the University of Pittsburgh (PhD 1968), he has analyzed, celebrated, and promoted understanding of China's domestic architectural heritage through his writings and lectures. His early interest in local historical geography has led to two new books focusing on regions of the United States. He is the author, editor, or contributor of more than 20 books, including China's Traditional Rural Architecture: A Cultural Geography of the Common House (1986), which was the first book in English to introduce Chinese vernacular architecture to Western readers. It is remarkable that this pioneering book appeared fully one hundred years after Japanese vernacular architecture was introduced to the English-speaking world.


Exquisite examples of traditional dwellings are scattered throughout modern-day China. Chinese Houses focuses on 20 well-preserved traditional Chinese homes, presenting examples from a range of rural and metropolitan areas throughout China. The photographs of each are accompanied by extensive background information and historical content. An introductory essay examines the different types of Chinese homes and provides an overview of the rich regional variety of Chinese dwelling forms. It also provides insights into little-known design concepts that emphasize the flexibility, adaptability, and versatility of traditional building forms and the work of classical craftsmen. Richly illustrated with photographs, woodblock prints, historical images, and line drawings, Chinese Houses portrays an architectural tradition of fantastic range and resilience.

"Chinese Houses examines traditional dwellings from a Ming dynasty manor to Mao's boyhood home." —Elle Decor blog
"Ronald G. Knapp…based this exhaustive book on 40 years of research in the Chinese countryside." —Icon World Monuments