When wind blows above a skywell house, it can enter the indoor space through the opening. Because outdoor air is often cooler than indoor air, the incoming breeze travels down the walls to the lower stories and create airflows by replacing warmer indoor air, which rises and leaves through the opening.
Yu Youhong, 55, has spent more than 30 years restoring skywell homes in Wuyuan county of Jiangxi province, a part of the old Huizhou. As an inheritor of intangible cultural heritage recognised by China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, he has obtained a wealth of knowledge about skywells.
The main purposes of a skywell, he says, is to allow in light, improve ventilation and harvest rainwater. In Huizhou, a skywell is small but tall, and the rooms around it can block out sunlight on hot days, enabling the bottom of the skywell to stay cool, he adds.
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