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Centennial memoir reveals history of Qingdao's Liyuan Buildings

( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2016-10-20

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A special launching ceremony for Alfred Siemsen's Memoir was held on Oct 18 at the Qingdao Urban Construction Group, revealing the centennial history of Qingdao's Liyuan architecture by its German founder.

Alfred Emil Siemsen, born in Germany in 1857, was a successful real estate developer and architect. He came to Qingdao in 1898, and was mainly engaged in the design and construction of the city's departments, which were an important part of Qingdao's urban architecture in the early 20th century.

Siemsen's most important contribution to Qingdao, is that he brought the subtropical architectural style to the city in an innovative form, retaining the spatial composition of Chinese quadrangles (siheyuan), while at the same time, utilizing western technology. The residential buildings are referred to as "Liyuan".

Alfred Siemsen's Memoir, was jointly planned and prepared by the Qingdao Urban Construction Group and Qingdao Culture Exchange Association of City Construction, as the first of a series of books featuring Qingdao history and memory.

The Liyuan were built by Germans for local Chinese residents during Germany's administration of Qingdao from 1898 to 1914. Their style resembles an elevated quadrangle courtyard which has combined the structure of traditional Chinese courtyards with western architectural style.

Centering on the courtyard, the yard is surrounded by either two sides, three sides or four sides. When they were first built, they were made of bricks and wood with two or three floors, followed later by four or five floored concrete structures. The first floor was used for storage or factories, while the upper floors were residential. Therefore they have both Chinese and western flavors.

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