Qīngliáng Pavilion

Historic Building in Yujiacun

Completed in 1581, this three-storey pavilion was supposedly the work of one thoroughly crazed individual – Yu Xichun, who wanted to be able to see Běijīng from the top. It was, according to legend, built entirely at night, over a 16-year period, without the help of any other villagers.

It was certainly built by an amateur architect: there’s no foundation, and the building stones (in addition to not being sealed by mortar) are of wildly different sizes (some as large as 2m), giving it a higgledy-piggledy look that’s quite uncommon in Chinese architecture.