Although the different scale and size are obvious, all of such architecture is comprised of the basic units. The layout of Siheyuan is a square, which is a large-sized or middle-sized yard built with the houses at four directions. Generally, Siheyuan has many kinds; most of them are distinguished by the number of yards. Siheyuan with single yard, we call it single-entrance Siheyuan and two yeards we call double-entrance Siheyuan, three yard, we call it Three-Entrance Siheyuan. Generally in Beijing, the large-sized Siheyuan like the Prince Gong Mansion is generally comprised by seven or nine yards.
Due to the influence of sunshine, the house backing on north and facing south is the best among the four-direction houses. Hence, Sihuyuan took north side house as the main building, and the houses at the west and east are taken as the subsidiary houses, and we call it wing rooms. The last row of main houses in mid-sized or large-sized Siheyuan is called Houzhaofang, roughly Rear House in English. Usually, the rear house used to build as two-storey house.
Siheyuan with two or more yards generally is divided into the inner residence and outer residence. And these two residences are connected with corridors or house-style passages, in Chinese, we call it Chuihuamen or Pingmen (Screen Door) The main building and the wing houses are connected by corridors (in Chinese, 抄手游廊) as well. Such kind of corridor is an open additional building, not only for walking but also for rest or seating. The building color of Siheyuan was the color of the raw materials. The blue brick, the grey tiles, white-marble steps and the red beams and so on bring such architecture the greatness and value.
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