Arcade Houses
2014-March-20 Source:
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The Most Unique Historic Heritage with Guangzhou Characteristics

“Arcade Houses” means literally “ the building that stands above the public sidewalk”. “Qilou” was short for “you jiao qilou,” referring to buildings that have legs. This was a type of architecture created in modern times. It was officially named “Arcade Houses” in 1912. By the 1920s and 1930s, the Arcade Houses business complex had reached an impressive scale with a unique business culture, and gradually became a prosperous commercial area. Arcade Houses construction reached its heyday in the 1930s. Among the 15 square km of the old town area, there were 59 Arcade Houses streets totaling over 40 km.

Arcade Houses is a piece of cultural heritage with unique Guangzhou local characteristics. For new Guangzhou people, just as for the old, the Arcade Houses is not only a unique architectural phenomenon, but also a symbol of Guangzhou’ s business civilization and its assimilation of different cultures. In order to live more conveniently, local residents installed windows in the circular arch which used for ventilation. The enclosed corridor formed a new style of architecture and became one of the representative features of the Arcade Houses in the Lingnan area. The Arcade Houses was designed for commercial and residential purposes. Whereas the ground floor housed the business premises, the upper floor served as the owners’ home. The two functions of Qilou coexisted peacefully in a state of interdependence.

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Editor: Olivia
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