1 Introduction to the geographical location of the Yellow River embankment in the northern suburbs of Kaifeng

  The Yellow River is our mother river, but the Yellow River in Kaifeng section is very dangerous, since ancient times there is an old saying: the Yellow River is a copper head, iron arms and bean curd waist. But in Kaifeng old man passed down the words: “Kaifeng section of the river but tofu waist of tofu waist.” The reason is that the Yellow River in the middle and lower reaches of the river due to the continuous siltation of sediment, making the riverbed constantly elevated, even more than 10 meters above the ground in Kaifeng, forming a ground hanging river. The higher the riverbed, the higher the dike is built, the entire dam is hanging over the residents of the city, to the flood season is particularly spectacular.

  About 10 kilometers north from Kaifeng City to the Yellow River Liuyuankou Water Conservancy Scenic Area, you can enjoy the beauty of the Kaifeng section of the Yellow River embankment. This was the place where Lin Zexu governed the Yellow River. You can clearly see that the water of the Yellow River is 3 to 5 meters higher than the ground inside the embankment, and the river surface is open, the embankment is high and majestic.

Along the iron rhinoceros to the north, you can ascend the river view pavilion, enjoy the spectacle of the hanging river, appreciate the “Yellow River water from the sky, running to the sea never return” the magnificent momentum. Next to the monument, the flying geese and hexagonal pavilion is charmingly shaped, with lush flowers and weeping willows on both sides, and you can hear the sound of the Yellow River waves in the listening gallery. You can enjoy the magnificent beauty of the Yellow River embankment, visit the exhibition hall in the Yellow River Song Scenic Area, breathe the fresh air of nature in the dense forest scenic area, and taste the fresh Yellow River wild fish and delicious farmhouse dishes in the nearby farmhouse.

  2 Introduction of Kaifeng customs

  Kaifeng, abbreviated as Bian, is known as Tokyo, Bianjing, the ancient capital of eight dynasties, located in the eastern part of the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River Plain, in the middle-eastern part of Henan Province, connected with Shangqiu in the east, adjacent to Zhengzhou in the west, connected with Xuchang and Zhoukou in the south, and looking across the Yellow River from Xinxiang in the north. Kaifeng has a history of more than 2,700 years, and is one of the first batch of famous Chinese historical and cultural cities and one of the eight ancient capitals of China. At that time, Kaifeng was the largest city in the world.

  Kaifeng has a long history and many customs have been handed down, such as temple fair, lantern fair, bird market, chrysanthemum, night market, kite flying, cock fighting, pan drums and so on. The people under the Yellow River embankment are not so rich in material life, but they are very rich in spiritual style. For example, almost every family can play pan drums, and whenever there is a festival or a happy event, people will form a pan drum team on their own initiative. Pan drum rhythmic, rhythmic, varied sets, magnificent, lively.

  3 yellow river embankment under the dwelling

  Into the village under the Yellow River embankment, the old bungalow has been few, into the eyes of the many new buildings built along the road. These buildings are either perpendicular to the road or parallel to the road, so instead of rows of houses, you can see interlocking houses. Moreover, most of them are small two-story buildings, each with a large yard and a large roof deck. Farmers cannot live without land and have been cultivating it for generations. Although there is very little land, people cultivate what little land they have in order to make a living, even along the coast where the Yellow River recedes, but every summer when the Yellow River rises, much of this land is submerged, making cultivation useless.

However, due to the scarcity of cultivable land, villagers still go to plant every year, expecting that some of the land will be harvested when the water does not rise too much. Moreover, since the villages are far away from the Yellow River, the land on the banks of the Yellow River is cultivated at a great distance, so each family has a large yard where they keep a lot of laboring supplies and vehicles for transporting crops. A large roof deck is a must for every family, as there is little rain and plenty of sunshine all year round.

Therefore, it is convenient to dry crops and household items on the platform. Here, you can hardly see the sloping roof. As you can see, the architecture evolved gradually according to the local environment, and the architecture is closely related to life, the most important thing is to meet the use of the occupants. Many people still have cellars to store crops such as sweet potatoes from freezing in case it is very cold in winter.

  Nowadays, many new rural houses are built in almost one pattern, the same for each family. Rows and rows of neatly planned, without a bit of their own characteristics. But these small villages scattered under the Yellow River embankment, each family is different, although they are two-story buildings, although also brick, concrete floor, exterior brick or paint, but, each family has its own differences, no design drawings, many are often building houses with experience in leading a few workers to build according to the requirements of the main family.

Moreover, when they build their own houses, their relatives and neighbors will come to help them and share their experience and shortcomings, so that every year the new houses will look more beautiful and practical. Although farmers do not have high aesthetics, the people have developed their own unique aesthetics because of Kaifeng’s long history and rich cultural heritage.

Every family grows fruit trees and flowers in their yards, and they have chickens and ducks, and some have flocks of sheep, or pigs in their yards. During the New Year, when families are full of friends and relatives, the courtyard can be useful, playing cards and mahjong in the courtyard, or even eating and chatting in the courtyard. The open space outside the gate is a good place for children to set off firecrackers, and the roof is a place to set off fireworks at night. Although rural areas are poor, but the most important festival, fireworks are bought a lot, food and drink in large quantities, new clothes and new shoes are also necessary for each person.

The couplets are not only posted on the door, the windows are also posted, rice jars, noodle jars are also posted with the year, cars, large farm equipment, sheep pens, pigsties, and even on the big tree in front of the door is also posted on the “see the joy of going out”. This shows how much people love life. When you walk into such a house, you can feel the real life scene. Such a vibrant and lively building is the best building.   

Because the layout is different in both vertical and horizontal, and the households are staggered and rarely close to each other, so sunlight and ventilation are not a problem, and the houses in the village are scattered among the big trees, and many of them are also covered by shade trees, which makes them very shady in summer.

Due to the proximity of the Yellow River, the temperature here is always about 4 degrees below that of the city, making it a good place to escape the summer heat. And in winter, the leaves wither and the branches are bare, and the warm sunlight shines through the branches on the roofs. In the courtyard, people are sun-warmed and chatting, playing mahjong, and children playing, full of laughter in the sun. In the spring, the greenery is full of green, the trees are sprouting, the peach blossoms in the yard are blooming, and the wheat fields in the distance look like the prairie. In autumn, the fields turn golden, the ground starts to fall with yellow leaves, and even the roofs, walls and branches are covered with golden corn, a scene of harvest.

  The formation of architecture is inseparable from the specificity of the geographical location, different places have different forms of architecture, architectural style. The formation of architecture is also closely related to the local customs and people, and different regional cultures cause the local people’s unique sense of identification with architecture and beauty. The people under the Yellow River embankment in Kaifeng, in the era of booming modern architecture, cannot help but be influenced by it as well. The building materials have long been not traditional local materials, and there is no longer the traditional style of old buildings.

However, due to the importance they attach to the function of use and the pursuit of convenient living, the houses are made very functional and comfortable to live in. The spacious gate leaves a large open space in front of the gate and a spacious courtyard when you walk into the gate. The large carport built in the courtyard. The simple two-story building or one or two-story staggered building, the large south-facing windows, and the large roof deck. The design concept that the form of the building meets the function is effectively reflected. This is the place to live, convenient, comfortable and practical. Surrounded by green trees, these small courtyards are simple but with local characteristics.

Architecture originates from life and serves life, which is the constant purpose. No matter how designers design, they can’t deviate from this most basic requirement. The unilateral pursuit of the so-called “beauty” is not enough, and the single-minded pursuit of the shape of the building is also isolated. The definition of beauty is not the same, and the perception of beauty is different in different places and different times. The architecture is inseparable from the surrounding environment, and the mutual integration with the environment, the interdependence between buildings, and the harmony of the overall environment is what we want to achieve in designing the new countryside.

Therefore, as an architect, in the design of new rural construction, I have seen many buildings designed with a small yard, and even considered the space for putting farming tools and cars. However, without the experience of rural life, the two-storey buildings designed according to the principle of beauty are very neat and tidy, but they always feel lacking in interest and detached from the original rural life.

I deeply appreciate that the formation of a village is not only the architecture, but also the natural environment around the building and the customs of the villagers. Architecture “cannot be separated from the history it witnesses and the environment it is created in”.

Therefore, the designer must consult the users and, with their joint participation, design a new house that is more suitable for the village. Architecture cannot be separated from the original environment full of history, and the most fundamental purpose of design is to satisfy the material and spiritual needs of the users in different regions.