Beijing is located at a latitude of forty degrees north, and Hefei, the capital of Anhui Province, at thirty degrees, which corresponds to the significant difference in Japan between Morioka in temperate northern Honshu, with its severe winters, and Yakushima, a subtropical island south of Kyushu. Hefei has a fairly acute seasonal temperature fluctuation, averaging 29.5° F (-1.3° C) in winter and 82.5° F (28° C) in summer. Its precipitation is similar to that of Japan; its humidity averages seventy percent in the coldest months and eighty percent in the warmest, mak
ing it a fairly uncomfortable climate.
High surrounding walls offer protection from winter winds and heat loss. In summer, the walls block high sun rays, which is why inner courtyards were necessarily made deep and narrow. Long, narrow alleyways (chuan feng hr, literally, “drift wind lane”) between buildings provide ventilation (see Figure 67.2). Huizhou’s climate gave rise to both the skywell courtyard contained within the two – story building structure and the high surrounding walls (Figure 56).
In contrast to the Beijing siheyuan’s one-story, square composition and spacious yuanzi courtyard designed to
let in the scarce northern China sunlight, Huizhou’s welllike, narrow tianjing structure is less a transformation of the Beijing siheyuan than a matter of the same Han race’s preserving the same customs and living habits, in a form of dwelling suitable to the central Chinese climate.