Watchtower Houses-World Architecture Museum
2014-June-20 Source:
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The Kaiping Watchtower Houses is a multi-floor, tower-style vernacular structure. It combines defense and living functions, bearing both Chinese and Western styles. The Watchtower Houses scatter all over the towns and streets of Kaiping City, totally integrating into the villages where they are located, and becoming an indispensable part of them.

The Watchtower Houses can be divided into three types. The first type is Genglou (night watchtower Houses. ) They were generally built on hills for local militia and night watchmen on guard. Inside there were guns and searchlights. Upon detecting bandits, these sentries immediately warned the villagers, so that they would be prepared. The second type is Zhonglou (public watchtower). They were built jointly by several or even more than a dozen of families. Usually they had three to six floors, with two to four rooms on each floor. When bandits came, the families moved into the Watchtower Houses to avoiding being ransacked. The third type is Julou (residence Watchtower Houses). They were built by one family alone as their long-term residence. The Watchtower Houses were made of either stone, tabia, brick or ferroconcrete.

The structure of Kaiping watchtower Houses fully meet the requirements of defense functions. They featured narrow windows and doors. They all have steel windows, iron doors and thick walls, with crenels on four sides of the top floor and an observation deck of the top. At their peak time many towers were equipped with guns, generators, search lights, sirens and other equipment to defend themselves against bandits.

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Editor: 王凯
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