ren (Figure 16). Due to the lack of young power and vitality, the village is doomed to decline.

It can be seen that the ancient dwellings in Liu Jiaqiao village are no longer adapted to the nowadays background. Without timely protection and inheritance, the ancient dwellings will suffer irreversible damage. New strategies to deal with the changes need to be proposed.

4. Strategies of Protection and Inheritance Dealing with the Changes of Times

In order to deal with the changes of times, strategies should be proposed from protection and inheritance.

4.1. Protection

4.1.1. Restoration of the Ancient Dwellings

As an important carrier of historical value, artistic value and scientific value, the protection of substantial remains is of great significance. However, disrepair and partly collapse is commonly seen. Without timely appropriate protection

Figure 15. The location of provincial road 209.

Figure 16. Lonely old man.

strategies, the ancient dwellings will eventually decline. If the material carrier no longer exists, the information it carries will also disappear, the protection will lose its rule and value. Thus, restoration is the basic of protection. The author participated in the restoration of one of the ancient dwellings Xia Xinwu. The following analysis will take it as an example.

Firstly, it is the evaluation of restoration criteria. The purpose of restoration is to maximize the preservation of the information the original building carries to maintain its authenticity. About authenticity, many protection rules are proposed, such as the “Venice charter” and “Nara Document on Authenticity” etc. Chinese heritage conservation specialist Ruan Yisan summarizes the protection rules about authenticity: The status of authenticity not only includes the state of the earliest construction, but also includes the subsequent restoration [4] . In other words, all the valuable historical information presents the status of authenticity. Therefore, the restoration should respect the current situation, keeping the historical information as much as possible under the ensuring of structure safety and normal use of the building.

As to Xia Xinwu, three aspects of restoration are adopted.

・ Control of structure and the envelope disease: The structure is the basic to maintain the material entity and the envelope is an important part of the normal use. So the restoration of the two should be put on the agenda. The diseases are summarized according to roof, wood frame, walls, floor etc. Typical photos of the diseases are taken and control strategies are proposed.

・ Restoration of the housing pattern: Housing pattern reflects the age and geographical characteristics of the dwellings. However, the housing pattern of the ancient dwellings is badly damaged due to the changes of times. A lot of valuable information is covered, so it is of great importance to restore the housing pattern of the ancient dwellings. The transformation without permission which blocks the patio should be removed. Moreover, the collapsed part should be restored. The new tiles should be replaced by traditional grey tiles as well. In this way, the traditional style of Xia Xinwu is regained (Figure 17 & Figure 18).

・ Restoration of decorative components: Decorative components reflect the artistic value of the ancient dwellings, which are the crystallization of the wisdom of the ancients. The restoration of the decorative components will enable us to understand the ancient art more intuitively. The restoration mainly includes the damaged part of the components and the missing ones, referring to the decorative part elsewhere of the dwelling or other ancient dwellings in the village. In the restoration, the new parts coordinate with the style of the dwelling from the far view, but different from the old parts when coming near. Thus, the authenticity of the ancient dwelling is respected fully.

Figure 17. Housing pattern before restoration.

Figure 18. Housing pattern after restoration.

4.1.2. Retain the Indigenous People

The protection of material entity is only the basic requirement of protection. A house without activities will not be conducive to the remodeling of vitality. Therefore, moving the indigenous people out to develop tourism is totally wrong. As the users of the ancient dwellings, the indigenous people produce activities. So retaining the indigenous people is the key to keep the vitality of the ancient dwellings [5] . As is discussed in the former parts, the young people with vitality go to the city, leaving children and the old in the village. This leads to aging and hollow of the village. Thus, how to keep the young people in the village is the basic to solve these problems. According to the situation, the following strategies are proposed: Schools should provide courses of regional culture education to cultivate a sense of pride of native culture so that people love to stay at the village. As to the young adults, the beautiful scenery and fertile land provides opportunities for farm stay and organic agriculture which produces enough jobs to settle down. The transformation of the ancient dwellings is also an important strategy to retain the indigenous people. The traditional dwellings are no longer adapted to the modern life, so residents can transform the space under the guidance of experts. In this way, the residents can lead a more comfortable life and the basic pattern of the ancient dwellings is not damaged. Moreover, the government should also improve the environment quality and infrastructure to make the residents’ life more convenient. Gradually, the outflow of young residents will be reduced and the vitality of the ancient dwellings will be improved.

4.2. Inheritance

Inheritance is the embodiment of a deeper level of protection. Protection keeps the material information and traditional way of life, while inheritance is the development of culture. Inheritance includes the connotation of the following two aspects.

4.2.1. Inheriting the Folk Activities, Maintaining the Regional Characteristics

The ancient dwellings of Liu Jiaqiao not only provide their material value, but also consist of the excellent culture of South Hubei. The inheritance of folk activities enables us to understand the social background of the dwellings’ construction and the correlation between behavior and space [6] . Thus, it is more conducive to maintain the regional characteristics and enhance the cohesion of the residents, which leads to great development.

There are many kinds of folk activities in Liu Jiaqiao village, such as stepping on the lotus boat, playing the dragon lantern etc. The activities are of regional characteristics and combine the tradition of the Liu family, so the inheritance is of great significance. The old who are familiar with these activities can organize regular folk activities so as to promote exchanges with the outside. In this pro- cess, they will also enjoy themselves. Schools should also regularly organize children to participate in such activities, to achieve the purpose of cultural inheritance. In this way, children, the old and young adults will live in harmony which leads to steady development of the village.

4.2.2. Using Traditional Construction Wisdom to Guide the Contemporary Architectural Design

The construction wisdom of Liu Jiaqiao village is broad and profound. Some is not out of date even from the view of modern people, which is worth inheritance. The inspiration of traditional construction wisdom of Liu Jiaqiao village to the contemporary design can be summed up as follows:

1) Reasonable location and layout in order to deal with the regional climate conditions.

2) Contrasts the space atmosphere by using the terrain conditions.

3) Ventilation and shading through the patio to reduce energy consumption.

4) Using continuous grey space to increase the spatial mobility and level.

5) Pleasant and friendly scale instead of large scale.

6) Shape design coordinates with the environment, not exaggerated.

5. Summary

With the change of times, more and more excellent traditional houses gradually decline, so the protection of the ancient dwellings is of great significance. The protection of ancient dwellings is not limited to the traditional material restoration, but the traditional way of life of the residents should also be included in the scope of protection. The purpose of protection is inheritance. Inheritance of folk culture can continue the regional features so that the ancient dwellings and villages can develop healthily. The inheritance of the construction wisdom will help to explore the living environment with Chinese characteristics. Through protection and inheritance, the cultural heritages like the ancient dwellings in Liu Jiaqiao will regain their vitality.


This research is based on the restoration project of ancient dwellings in Liu Jiaqiao, Xianning, Hubei, China.

Cite this paper
Dong, Y. and Gao, Y. (2017) The Protection and Inheritance of Ancient Dwellings in Liu Jiaqiao Village under the Change of Times. Journal of Building Construction and Planning Research, 5, 71-83. doi: 10.4236/jbcpr.2017.52006.

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