Tai O Stilt Houses

1940, Vernacular 民間建築及屋邨

Tai O

It was over a hundred years ago that Tai O Tanka people gradually gave up their traditional dwelling style of living on boats, hence contributing to the transition of Tanka residential architecture. The change can be separated into 3 stages – living on water, living on shore and living on land. Tai O stilt houses are solid witnesses of this transition.

Stilt houses in early years were merely old, ragged boats fixed to timber stilts, which became the main structure of the residential unit. Hollyhock leaves and bark of pine trees were laid on roofs and walls, which were later constructed with timber and iron sheets while the one-storey units gradually became two-storey houses. In the early 80s, there were still a number of residential boats in Tai O. Eventually, all fishermen moved their homes to stilt houses and formed the main residential community in Tai O. The design of stilt houses originated from Tanka boats, clearly separating the working and residential space (for fishing and for living). Originally Tanka people fished at the front and lived at the back of the houses. However functions of the spaces had evolved from time to time and gradually transformed into the stilt houses that we see today. The evolution of stilt houses reflects the relationship between functional space and lifestyle.

The cultural landscape of a community led by fisher folks is different from that of an urban city. Will we be able to learn from the harmony created between people and architectural space of the Tai O community?


早期的棚屋以木柱固定破舊木船,以木支架為結構至今。屋頂及牆身鋪上葵葉和松皮,及後改建以木材及鐵皮蓋搭,再由一層演變成兩層。在八十年代初,大澳仍有一定數目的住家艇,最後全數遷上棚屋,棚屋群便成為了該區的建築主體。棚屋的設計源自住家艇,工作與服務空間關係清晰(捕漁及居住空間),從舊有的前捕漁後居,到後來互換,並演變成今天的棚屋設計, 可見其功能性的空間與生活模式的緊扣關係。