Sunday, 11 October 2009

Hakka Dwellings: Ryan Pyle

Photo © Ryan Pyle/GlobalPost-All Rights Reserved

The GlobalPost website features Ryan Pyle's Chinese Hakka Houses, which are also known as Hakka Tulou "apartments" in Yongding county, Fujian province. These structures are indigenous to the Hakka minority group and other people in the mountainous areas in southwestern Fujian.

In 2008, UNESCO granted the Tulou dwellings World Heritage Status, and cited these structures as "exceptional examples of a building tradition and function exemplifying a particular type of communal living and defensive organization."

Having seen these buildings in Ryan's slideshow, these are typically large enclosed buildings, rectangular or circular in configuration, between three and five stories high, housing up to 80 families. Unfortunately, the slideshow feature doesn't include many interior shots of the apartments or of their occupants themselves.

Ryan Pyle obtained a degree in International Politics from the University of Toronto, moved to China permanently in 2002 and began taking freelance assignments in 2003. He became a regular contributor to The New York Times covering China, where he documented issues such as rural health care, illegal land seizures, bird flu and environmental degradation. He also has published magazine work, such as the Sunday Times Magazine, Der Spiegel, Fortune, TIME, Outside, Forbes and Newsweek.