合院不再?

:::

1992 / 10月

文‧蔡文婷 圖‧鄭元慶


在中國存活了三千年的合院,真是只能劃入古蹟當古董,而無法在現代生活中綿延永續?為什麼?

 

時下強調中庭公共空間的高樓組群,是不是合院「埕」的概念?

 

除了硬體型式,傳統合院呼應自然,層次變化的空間觀念,是否可能在現代建築媃F活運用?


在都市週邊的傳統合院,除非能加入古蹟行列,否則多已在寸土寸金的利用下,改建成高樓大廈。這樣的趨勢,在中南部鄉鎮也不少見。

「常常有人來量這兒、量那兒」,彰化縣社頭鄉月眉池劉宅三合院內,一位頭髮花白的老阿媽,就熱切地想知道:「到底何時才會替我們起樓仔厝?」

消失中的老合院

位於員林市郊一座佔地六百坪的小合院,最近也在五千萬元的行情下,兩房對一房,決定賣給建設公司。

沿用四代的祖厝於是在一日之間夷為瓦礫。老一輩住慣合院,忽然改住新式的樓房,也會有心理障礙要克服。搬入鎮上三層透天厝的二房女主人劉白霞,想起樓房沒有大埕可以曬被,大門外就是馬路,「雖然一人可以有一個房間,卻不知新家可以那堥城吽H」她說。

更教她耿耿於懷的是,以後想看一下孫子做功課,還必須打定主意,專程上樓去,不免心中先打了退堂鼓。「家人要『碰』在一塊兒,可是越來越難囉!」她嘆口氣說。

也有一些宗族向心力強的家族,就在原址加高樓層,仍然保留合院形式。苗栗大湖鄉的三層合院,在當年加高時,一併解決了老厝陰暗、易潮,沒有衛浴之類的問題。改建後的合院至今仍住了十戶家人、近百名的親族。

一般農村中的大型合院就沒有這麼幸運了。面臨社會型態改變,年輕人在外地工作、讀書,人口不斷外流;廂房除了三兩家,大多房間經年累月只有一把鐵鎖相陪,一旦掉了瓦片、朽了樑柱,傳統建材或匠人又是既稀且貴。整座宅邸便在無人照顧下逐漸殘頹,只有拆建一途。

而在注重個人隱私的現代社會,植基於宗族間同火共業的合院生活,其私密性的不足,也使得多數年輕人急於逃離那「掉顆牙都要傳遍全家族」的壓迫。

畫皮難畫骨

對於「合院是大家族產物,不適於現代小家庭社會」這樣的質疑,研究中國合院多年的學者王鎮華覺得,那是對合院的了解不夠透徹。

「中國合院是可合可分的」,他解釋,在一個大家族分火、分房之後,只要關上廂房邊門,正身和護龍即可切成兩個獨立主體。事實上,今天愈來愈多忙碌的年輕夫妻,為了孩子能就近照應,而選擇和父母、親友近鄰而居,甚至買公寓上下層,不也是相同的權衡嗎?

不過他也承認,建材格局完全復古的合院並不適於今日,即便使用,也必須經過轉化,否則徒具形式。就像台北縣永和市的秀朗國小,四層新建的校舍狀為四合院,卻因天井上方加蓋成活動中心,使得學校成為一個大共鳴箱,學校只好限制小朋友跑動,反而失去了合院的本意。

而在台中大度山上的東海大學,有山林之便,合院式的學院堸j廊曲折、草木扶疏,是很成功的例子。

總是少一間?

至於時下建商如雨後春筍般推出強調中庭花園、安全防衛的高樓住宅組群,是不是合院的現代變貌,還只是把樓層拉高了呢?「商人強調的不過是房子的價值」,淡江大學建築研究所副教授米復國指出,合院的價值不在形式,而是精神內涵。

又是什麼內涵,使得在中國發展三千年,卻在工業文明下式微的合院,讓許多人對它念念不忘?「彈性及變化是合院的菁華」,王鎮華表示。

走入合院的中庭,平時是走道、可閒坐,也可加搭棚子,變成擺喜宴的臨時餐廳。一個小空間,卻可靈活運用。

其他的折衝空間,也可變通使用。比方說傳統家族人多事多,一旦正廳有客或是辦紅白事,不願打擾或相沖須避退者,可以在未入大廳前,自邊間穿入內廊道,或自廳後巷弄左右來往,免去了非得相撞的尷尬。

比起「家家總是少一間」、強調機能隔間的現代公寓,王鎮華問得有趣:「那吵架要在那間房?」

氣韻生動、聲氣相通?

從小住在合院的台灣大學建築與城鄉研究所博士班研究生賴志彰,最愛合院的清晨。揭開紅眠床的紗帳,在幽微的光線中,步出房間、轉入內廊道,再穿外廊道到前埕;那樣循序漸進的層次感,和所營造的怡人光線,令他至今難忘。

此外,合院中的簷廊、天井,常能讓人不經意地與時推移,體會自然遞變。著名的英國科學家李約瑟和已故畫家席德進,都曾對合院中的雨,感到特別貼近而引人。這樣半戶外的空間,領人樂於佇足,和大自然聲氣相通,不致於不看錶不知時日,不推門不知節候。

「為何現代住宅玻璃窗越做越大,而人們卻少有時間站在窗前慢慢和外界溝通?」王鎮華問。他建議,如果在這一大面不能開的窗下,加個窗台、擺點植物;上加雨被,改成可推出去的半戶外空間,那麼原本只有視覺吸引的密窗,頓時也有了聲音和氣息的召喚。

古蹟「活」成違建

事實上,面對落雨的窗扉,是細數簷花紛紛落;還是窩棉被、看電視,仍是主人的選擇。畢竟,房子的生命,是由居住者「活」出來的;住屋的情趣,也有賴居住者經營。

桃園縣龍潭徐宅,主人以自己工作的經驗,在自家到茶圃小路上,找出體力最須休息的地點,安置石椅三、兩張。如此生之又生,使得環境日益豐富。反之,居住者對於住屋無心無德,那雖是古蹟級的精緻合院,也會化神奇為腐朽,活成違建一般錯亂。

台北大同區的陳悅記古宅,就是一個例子。大埕上象徵家族光榮的石旗座,夾在貨車、轎車、摩托車之中,早已失去了原有的尊顯地位;步入正廳,隆隆印刷機器聲如雷貫耳,即使公媽廳也成臨時貨倉;天井內,不見植栽綠意,只見垃圾零落。層層走進,沒心情調整的漸次寧靜,只有不忍的加快腳步。

為了增加空間,有的天井及廊道已被加蓋得不見天日。橫巷直弄間則被已分家的親族加上鐵門,劃入私人空間,用來堆些棄之可惜的廢物,卻阻斷了通路的功能及親友過路寒暄的機會。「有空地就亂蓋,老家越來越擠了」,五十五年次的陳正惠表示。她很懷念過去能在天井看電視、唱歌的日子。

屋由心生

建築的空間觀念是文化的顯影,屋宅的使用則直見人心。

在過去的位序觀念中,正廳左側的房間,給長輩、給當家者;今天主臥室則由賺錢的小夫妻住。

原本家中最好、最中心的位置是擺祖先神位的正廳;現在最大最好是客廳,其中最佳位置又給了全家仰望的祖宗——電視。

而在總是少一間的「加蓋擴建」文化中,陽台、頂樓、庭院……,所有照見陽光雨露的半戶外空間,統統改作室內起居……。

是人變了,還是建築變了?是現代建築把人變得冷漠功利,還是人把家居住屋弄得不通情理?傳統合院精神能不能在現代建築媃F活運用,看來不只是現代建材或建築師的問題。

〔圖片說明〕

P.28

嶄新樣品屋的玻璃窗上,映著古樸老合院,現代樓房與傳統合院之間,真的沒有「轉化」餘地?

P.30

內埕上,晾衣服、曬棉被,夏天夜裡還可以搬出蓆子乘涼;現代的中庭花園是否也能?

P.30

樸素的材料,砌出這一道紅磚花牆。為了它,深坑永安居的主人主動申請將古宅列入古蹟,以免因道路拓寬而被迫拆毀。

P.31

「阿媽!我回來了」下了課的小孫子,急急登上石階、進入院門,轉個小彎、穿過大埕,好向等在大廳廊前的奶奶撒嬌。

P.32

祖先牌位、家訓對聯,又高又涼的公媽廳內,孩子開著小汽車玩耍。

P.33

端午節到了,宜蘭礁溪二龍村村民,在大埕上祭拜龍船。(邱瑞金攝)

P.33

若是分了房也分了心,那就阻斷通道劃地為私,即使公媽廳也可用來堆置貨物。

相關文章

近期文章

EN

End of the Courtyard Compound?

Ventine Tsai /photos courtesy of Cheng Yuan-ching /tr. by Phil Newell

Is it really the case that the ho-yuan, the multiple winged compound or courtyard building which would house an entire extended family or clan, which survived 3,000 years in China, can now only be relegated to the ranks of "historic artifacts"? Is there really no way it can survive today and indefinitely into the future? Why?

Could it be that the new high-rise developments which emphasize a common space are the heirs to the ho-yuan concept?

Besides the hardware and shape, traditional ho-yuan also extolled a natural, layered and shifting spacial notion. Could this be applied in a vital, living way to modern architecture?


Traditional extended family compounds, or ho-yuan, which find themselves stuck in the city have--unless they have been listed as historic relics--been converted to high rises as each inch of land has become as valuable as gold. This trend is not unusual even in smaller towns in central and southern Taiwan.

"There are always people coming measuring here, measuring there," says a silver-haired grandmother in the Liu family compound in Yuemeichih in Shetou Rural Township in Changhua County. She avidly wants to know, "so when are they going to come and put up a building where we are?"

The disappearing ho-yuan: A small compound covering 600 ping (one ping being about 36 square feet) in the suburbs of the small city of Yuanlin was finally sold under an offer of NT$50 million (US$2 million), with two of the three households in the extended family living there voting to sell and only one voting against.

The ancestral home, in use for four generations, was thus levelled overnight. For the older generation who are accustomed to living in the ho-yuan, there are psychological obstacles in making the leap into a tall building in a single bound. Liu Pai-hsia, the mother in the family of the second oldest brother--who had not wanted to sell--has moved into a three-story building in the town which belongs entirely to them, but thinks that there is no open compound in the building where one can put one's blankets to air out, and there is a road right outside the front door. "Although each person can have his or her own room, you can't find any place to really move about in the new house," she says.

What makes her even more nostalgic is that if she wants to look in on the kids doing their homework, she has to take her attention away from whatever she is doing and make a special trip up the stairs, and inevitably there are times she'd rather not make the effort. "It's getting harder and harder to get the family all together," she sighs.

But there are also extended families who hold closer together who still maintain the family com pound style even after building a larger structure on the original grounds. When the new floors were added to what is a three-story family compound in Tahu Rural Township in Miaoli County, the problems of inadequate light, dampness, and lack of sanitary facilities in the old residence were all solved at a stroke. Ten households from the clan, totalling 100 people, still live in the reconstructed ho-yuan.

Most rural large-scale ho-yuan have not been so fortunate. With changes in the social structure, young people are flowing out to work or study in the cities, and the population has been continually outmigrating. Except for two or three of the households, most of the rooms have only a steel lock to keep them company. If tiles fall off, or pillars corrode, both traditional building materials and craftsmen are rare and costly. With no one looking after it, the whole structure just falls apart, until there is no alternative but demolition.

Form without essence: Also, modern society puts a premium on personal privacy. Because life in the family compound of a close-knit clan offers little privacy, many young people are anxious to escape from the pressures of living in a place where "if you lose a tooth everyone in the clan finds out about it."

Vis-a-vis the type of argument which says that "the ho-yuan is a product of large family clans, and is not suitable for the modern nuclear family society," Wang Chen-hua, who has studied Chinese ho-yuan for many years, says this just shows inadequate understanding of the family compound.

"Chinese ho-yuan could be connected together or divided up," he explains. After a large family subdivides and each member forms his own family, one need only close the side doors of the rooms; the main compound and the hulung, or auxiliary rooms set off to the left and right of the main com pound (separated by an open-air pathway), can then become two independent bodies. In fact, today more and more young couples on the go are choosing to live near their parents or relatives--sometimes buying apartments on adjoining floors--so that the children can have someone nearby to look after them; isn't this is a similar expedient?

But he also confesses that ho-yuan which have been fully restored using only authentic construction materials are also not very suitable to the present. If you want them to be practical, there must be some changes. Otherwise, if one just adopts the form outright, it could turn out like the Hsiu Lang Elementary School in Yungho: The newly built four story school building is a four-sided (fully enclosed) ho-yuan, but because an activities center was added to the courtyard, the school thus became an enormous resonance chamber. The only thing the school could do was to restrict the children from running about, thus contradicting the original spirit of the large communal compound.

On the other hand, Tunghai University on Tatu Mountain in Taichung is a successful example: Taking advantage of being in the mountains, there are winding halls and grass and trees in the ho-yuan style halls of learning.

Always one room short: As for the high-rise apartment complexes which emphasize a central garden and courtyard and security walls around the outside being pushed by construction companies everywhere you look, are these modern versions of the ho-yuan, or just the old buildings pulled up a few more stories? "Businessmen are stressing nothing more than the value of the buildings," says Mi Fu-kuo, an associate professor in the Graduate School of Architecture. But the value of an extended family compound is not in the structure, but in the spiritual content.

What spiritual content makes so many people yearn for these ho-yuan, which developed for 3,000 years in China but are withering under industrial civilization? "The essence of the family compound is flexibility and change," declares Wang Chen-hwa.

When you enter the central hall of a compound, ordinarily there is a pathway. You can sit and relax, or cover it with a tent to make a temporary restaurant for festive occasions. It is a small space, but can be used adaptably.

The other subdivided space can also be opened up for use. For example, in a traditional clan there are many people and many events. If on a given day the main room has guests or is being used for a wedding or funeral, those who don't wish to intrude--or might want to avoid running into someone they would rather miss--can enter the inside hall from a side room even before getting to the main room, or head left or right out from behind the hall into the street or alley, thus avoiding the embarrassment of unintentioned encounters.

Compared to the modern apartment, with its emphasis on functional division into rooms and which "always has one room too few for any family," Wang Chen-hwa queries amusingly, "which room is for arguing?"

Communing with nature: Lai Chin-chang, a doctoral candidate in the Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning at National Taiwan University, has lived in a ho-yuan ever since he was small. He most loves early morning in the family compound, pulling aside the bed curtain and the mosquito net, walking out of the room in the entrancing shafts of sunlight, turning into the interior hall, then going through the exterior hall into the forecourt. To this day he cannot forget that graduated sensation of layers and the harmonious streams of light they created.

Moreover, the passages and courtyards of the ho-yuan change with the passing of the hours, and allow one to feel the movements of nature. The famous British scholar Joseph Needham and the late painter Hsi Teh-chin have both felt the special intimacy and attraction of experiencing rain in a family compound residence. This semi-open space makes one happy to stop in one's tracks and commune with the sounds and sensations of nature, to the point where one knows the time without looking at a watch, and one knows the weather without having to push open a door.

"Why is it that the glass windows in modern buildings are bigger and bigger, but people have less and less time to stand at the windows and communicate with the outside world?" wonders Wang Chen-hua. He suggests that if one would add a window box to this large but sealed window, and arrange a few plants, add an awning, and turn it into a semi-external space that one could open up, then the pane which had once held only visual attractions would now also open onto the calls and scents of the wild.

From artifact to illegal construction: In fact, faced with a window spattered with falling rain, it's the homeowner's choice whether to count the drops as they fall or to curl up under a blanket and watch TV. In the end, the lifeforce of the particular residence depends on the lifeforce of the particular residents. The fun in any home is brought out by the people who live there.

At the Hsu Family in Lungtan in Taoyuan County, the owner chose the spot on the path from the house to the tea shed where one most needs to rest, and set out two or three stone seats. With constant renewal in this way, the living environment becomes evermore enriched. On the other hand, if the habitants devote neither interest nor care to the abode, it doesn't matter if it is an exquisite historical structure, it will, like Cinderella's things at midnight, decay into the kind of dilapidation typical of illegally built shelters.

The old Chen Yue-chi residence in the Tatung District in Taipei is a classic example. The stone flagpole stand erected in the front courtyard to symbolize the family's glory has, jammed in amongst delivery trucks, sedans, and motorcycles, long lost the position of veneration it once had. Entering the ancestral worship room, the sound of a printing machine assails the ears like thunder, and even the ancestral hall has become a temporary storage area. In the well courtyard, there is no sign of greenery, only scattered garbage. As you penetrate in layer by layer, there is no subtle change in mood or increasing quiet, and it becomes so unbearable that one can only hurry through as quickly as possible.

In order to increase the amount of interior space, many courtyards and passageways have been covered over to block out the sun and sky. People have added steel doors along the little lanes and alleys that divide the different families of the clan, turning them into private space, using them to pile up discarded items, blocking the function of allowing people to get in and out and with it the chances for family and friends to come and go and shout back and forth. "If there's space, then someone just sticks anything up there to cover it, so that the old compounds are annexed and chewed up bit by bit," describes Chen Cheng-hui, born in 1966. She really misses those days of watching TV or singing in the courtyard.

Home is where the heart is: The concept of space in architecture is a sign of the culture, and the use of a residence depends on the hearts of the people.

In the hierarchical view of the past, the room to the left of the ancestral memorial room was given to the oldest generation or the head of the extended family; today the master bedroom is occupied by the breadwinning husband and wife.

Originally the best and most central place was the main room where the ancestral tablets are arrayed. Now the largest and best room is the living room, with the best position in that room given over to the holy shrine the whole family gazes upon--the television.

In this close-it-off add-it-on culture where there's always one room too few, all the semi-open spaces where one can see the sun or feel the rain--patios, rooftops, courtyards--are all being made into interior living space.

Is it that people have changed, or that architecture has? Has modern architecture really made people cold and mercenary? Or have people made buildings into places that cut off and isolate us from sentiment and reason? Whether or not the spirit of the traditional ho-yuan family compound can invigorate modern architecture is not just a problem of building materials and architects.

[Picture Caption]

A simple ho-yuan compound is reflected in the spanking new window of a model building. Is there really no room for "transformation" between the modern Structure and the traditional ho-yuan?

In the interior courtyard, one can dry clothes, air out blankets, and br ing out the bedrolls for a little cool air on a summer's night. Can you do this in a modern apartment complex?

Simple materials were used to produce this red brick patterned wall. For its sake, the owner of the Yungan residence in Shenkeng took the initiative to ask that the old structure be listed as an historic artifact, so that it would not be torn down to widen the road.

"Grandma, I'm home!" A child just back from school hurries up the stairs, takes a corner, goes through the courtyard, and then runs up to play with grandma in the front hall of the main room.

In the high-ceilinged and cool ancestral hall, amidst the ancestral tablets and couplets with homely wisdom, a child plays with his toy car.

On Dragon Boat Festival, the people of Erlung Village in Chiaohsi in Ilan County make offerings to the Dragon Boat in a central courtyard. (photo by Diago Chiu)

To split up the family is to divide one's heart: People now wall off the passageways to make private space, and even the ancestral hall is used to pile up odds and ends.

 

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