Cave Villages of Northern China
Carved into hillsides or excavated horizontally from sunken courtyards, the yaodong is a form of cave dwelling in the Loess Plateau of Northern China. The earth surrounding the indoor space serves as a very effective insulator, keeping the inside of the structure warm in cold seasons and cool in hot seasons. Yaodongs have been built for centuries, and continue to be used, with an estimated 40 million people living in them today. In the last decade, these traditional dwellings have come to be regarded as a form of sustainable architecture.