Documenting Heritage at Risk: Vernacular Farm Houses in the Eastern Tibetan
Cultural Region

Peter Herrle* and Anna Wozniak

Faculty of Planning and Building Environment, Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
* Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT  Tibetan architecture is largely associated with the impressive monastic buildings scattered over the Tibetan Plateau and the adjoining mountain ranges. While these buildings have long attracted the interest from travellers and researches, the rural vernacular architecture has been grossly neglected. Accounting for more than 90 percent of the cultural heritage vernacular farmhouses incorporate an immeasurable wealth of traditional knowledge and local craftsmanship that is increasingly threatened by the impacts of modernisation. The article draws on a research project on vernacular architecture in the Tibetan cultural region and presents four examples of rural houses in former Kham, that is nowadays spread across Sichuan, Qinghai, Yunnan provinces and the Xizang (Tibet) Autonomous Region. The examples show a surprising diversity a particular environment. As examples for this diversity the article presents a rammed earth building in Chatreng, a house in stone masonry from Dabpa, a house in Pome built with timber log walls, and a house from Gyalrong with a mixed stone/timber construction. The richness of vernacular farmhouse architecture in Kham deserves special recognition and support on various levels.

KEYWORDS  Tibetan culture, vernacular architecture, farmhouse, diversity, cultural heritage, preservation, Kham

Received July 9, 2018; accepted September 22, 2018.