The dwellings of Bai is basically enclosed courtyard structure in a typical layout of U-shaped house with a screen wall facing the gate or a courtyard surrounded by enclosed houses with four small yards at corners. In either of the cases the housing spaces are separated. The spacious courtyard is surrounded by the basic living spaces, like central room and sleeping rooms, with auxiliary spaces like hall-way, kitchen, sheepfold and pigsty laid out in small yards.
The plaster on the outer wall is especially characteristic of the Bai housing architecture which is a combination of the ethnic art and culture. The basic color of the outer plaster is painted in white, with black ink paintings, decorated with mineral blue and reddish brown paints, that looks simple and elegant and the lines are graceful. Wooden framework, black roof tiles and black stone slab eaves add radiance and beauty to the natural environment of the highland, blending architecture, environment and human being in perfect harmony.
The arch over the gateway is an important part of the house. It is a landmark of the main entrance as well as a conjunction of different spaces. The arch over the gateway in Dali is either covered by eaves or eave less. The layout of the arches is either triple-fold or single-fold.
The screen well is the best object to handle the space layout, which is composed of two symmetrical wall top eaves. By making use of the large surface white-washed walls, sunlight is reflected to add lighting to the rooms enclosed from three sides, take great advantage of the daylight in the highland and making the enclosed courtyard suddenly enlightened.