The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLVI-M-1-2021
28 Aug 2021
 | 28 Aug 2021


J. Gao

Keywords: Cultural landscapes, Vernacular architecture, Sunken cave dwellings, Typological study, Anthropological approach

Abstract. With more and more farmers flowing into cities from rural area of Sanmenxia, Henan Province because of economic development and rapid pace of urbanisation in China, the sunken cave dwellings in that area are being either abandoned or replaced by brick-andmortar houses built on the ground. These underground houses, unique because of their invisibility, together with the inhabitants and their life closely related to these caves, are gradually diminishing from below the horizon. This research, based upon relevant studies, typological and anthropological theories, is designed to find the links between architectural vernacularism and the physical features of the place and cultural influences by closely examining 11 sunken cave dwellings. The study focuses on both unification and variations of the dwellers, some common techniques and practice in digging, strengthening and embellishing of these structures. Besides, oral history documentation conducted for this research provides clues to the understanding of the history of the area. The findings of the research are that the vernacular architecture in the area under study are the results of the combined influences of both unique physical features of the place, the economic development, and the values and creativity of the dwellers there.