Some 46 of China's tulou houses in Fujian province have been designated UN World Heritage sites, according to the Shanghai Daily.Tulou are essentially miniature circular castles, constructed from the 11th to 20th centuries, shared by entire clans; their circular shapes, single point of entry, and weapons portholes were designed to optimize defense.
The building usually consists of a rammed earth outer wall and internal wooden framework. Its unique structural form and ingenious interior design highlight the interdependent relations between clan members who lived inside and demonstrate the development of their lifestyle.
"It is unique Chinese architecture," said Huang Hanmin, chief architect with the Fujian Institute of Architectural Design and Research.
Killer photos and schematics after the jump.