The Bei Fong Mansion - Layout
Ever wondered how Toph managed to sneak out at night without her parents noticing?
The layout of the Bei Fong mansion follows the Siheyuan i.e. the traditional Chinese courtyard house.Take a look at the other layouts. Siheyuan come in all sizes —according to the owners’ wealth and status— the basic layout stays the same, it just gets multiplied if the place gets bigger and additional parts get added if there’s more family or money.
The siheyuan dates back as early as the Western Zhou period, and has a history of over 2,000 years.They exhibit outstanding and fundamental characteristics of Chinese architecture. They exist all across China and are the template for most Chinese architectural styles. The layout of a simple courtyard represents traditional Chinese morality and Confucian ethics. In Beijing, four buildings in a single courtyard receive different amounts of sunlight. The northern main building receives the most, thus serving as the living room and bedroom of the owner or head of the family. The eastern and western side buildings receive less, and serve as the rooms for children or less important members of the family. The southern building receives the least sunlight, and usually functions as a reception room and the servants’ dwelling, or where the family would gather to relax, eat or study. The backside building is for unmarried daughters and female servants: because unmarried girls were not allowed direct exposure to the public, they occupied the most secluded building in the siheyuan.
What does that mean for Toph and her family?
Take a look at the layout of their house(ses) and garden. Her parents live in the biggest house in back (since there seem to be no older/higher ranking members of the Bei Fongs present or living there). Toph herself would not live in the same house with them but in the smaller one next to it.
Ever wondered how she was able to sneak out? Much easier to do when you do not sleep next to your parent’s or your nanny’s bedroom.
The house at the garden gate is for receptions and potentially also where dinner was served.
Aang, Katara and Sokka most likely got given a room in one of the houses on the left or right.
Image sources: One, two, three, four