The courtyard houses in Beijing are considered the most developed type of this style in China, and became the idealized house type for wealthy dwellings all over China. The sense of order reflects the strong practice of Confucius' teachings and the hierarchical order of the Chinese extended family.

During the Cultural revolution, many of the houses were divided and shared by as many as 40 families. The ones that remained intact were used as schools, factories and administration offices. During the past twenty years, many have been torn down to make way for theexploding development of modern China.