On the Hubei Institute of Fine Art campus, there's a two-story, Western-style mansion, Pu Yuan (朴园), which got its name after the hackberry trees beside the mansion. A cultural celebrity, Qian Jibo (钱基博), once lived here. It's now an art salon.
Qian Jibo (1887-1957) was born in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province; he was an expert in classical Chinese literature and an educator. In fact, he was no less knowledgeable than his son, Qian Zhongshu (钱钟书), the world famous Chinese literary scholar and writer.
Built in 1936, this two-story, wood and brick structure, with its hipped roof, black brick, and dry walls has all the characteristics of the eclectic American garden style. It was one of the new apartments built for the professors on the foundation of the torn-down Wuchang city walls. The overall floor space of the house is 630 square meters. The lush green trees in front of the building create a unique serenity.
Unlike most of Wuhan's buildings, which face south, Pu Yuan faces east, most likely because this fits better with the natural surroundings. In order to make up for the defect in orientation, the windows were designed smaller than normal with a width of 1.1 meters and height of 1.5 meters. Fortunately, there are many windows, which keep the rooms well lit without letting in too much sunshine. From the windows, you can see trees of different species, ages, and heights; the beautiful natural scenes are accompanied by the chirping of birds, the singing of the cicadas, and the sweet fragrances of various kinds of flowers.