Chinese architecture can be broadly distinguished into two parts: Traditional and also modern. When the ancient traditional Chinese design has a distinct style and also defining characteristics, modern Chinese style is still finding that rhythm. Chinese architecture has gone v a drastic change in dynamics owing to the western influence short article the Opium war in 1842. Over there is a multitude of learnings indigenous both eras and from your failures follow me the way. 

Participate Now

Some unique features of classic Chinese style are symmetry, power structure in the constructed environment, the cosmological affect of Feng Shui, horizontal development rather than vertical, gardens, courtyards, and also a distinct construction system. Stop look at them in information further.

You are watching: In early chinese architecture, the organizational system is based on

1. Symmetry

Symmetry has been one of the oldest and also influential ordering principles in architecture and it help unify various facets together. Symmetry in style is widely used because unlike other applications, the is not only visually pleasing to look at at, yet we can likewise experience symmetry by moving through it. 

Sign increase Now

It is carefully linked with repetition of mass and also void to dictate movement and experience which outcomes in the axial relationships. 

A typical arrangement of a classic Chinese dwelling 

The foursquare layout of the setup is rigorously symmetrical and also is derived from old traditional Chinese philosophy. Laterally symmetrical follow me a north-south axis, a Chinese facility is strictly orthogonal. The resultant organization adheres to the “pavilion concept”, in which each building is viewed as a freestanding rectilinear structural unit. Repetition of this unit enables for as whole flexibility in design. The whole system is hence, modular and also highly standardized under fancy sloping roof through curved edges. (Qiyi, n.d.)

2. Chinese gardens

Chinese gardens are a distinctly advanced landscape layout that is based upon three type of conceptions: aspire, immoral, and natural. Each of this is uncovered in various classes the society: royalty, temples, and also scholars respectively. Looking beyond the class division, the becomes obvious how the aspects of the theory of philosophy, politics, virtue, and aesthetics are reflected in this gardens. 

Sign increase Now

The balance the the relation of all the elements; water, architecture, vegetation, and rocks, is gracefully incorporated into these gardens to end up being a paradise because that humans among nature. In a modern-day world, these host the potential come become powerful places the relief from the claustrophobic growing urban thickness in the cities. Put intelligently, these might ironically end up being equalizers throughout different great of society and it is in a peaceful and calming place for all. (Chinese design – Wikipedia, n.d.)

Yuyuan Garden in Shanghai, China. 

3. Indigenous building system 

Traditional Chinese architecture was built using a wooden structure structure. Wood is easily obtainable in this an ar and can conveniently adapt to differing climates and is perfect in earthquake-prone areas such together this. 

The dry timber building and construction was set up through structure joineries and dowelling alone. Rather of nails and also glue, interlocking elements like the Dougong room used. This would prevent buckling and also torsion under high compression, and allow for the building to absorb shock vibrations from earthquakes. (Chinese style – Wikipedia, n.d.)

Sign increase Now
Schematic abstraction that Dougong bracket 

4. Siheyuan 

Siheyuan is a courtyard frequently found in timeless Chinese dwellings. The level of enclosure defines the level that intimacy the the open. While the is a concept popularly offered in housing typology, variants that it have the right to be seen across all type of buildings and complexes. 

Courtyards are beneficial for an ext than just spatial reasons, they are provided to regulate temperature and also ventilate the building. This courtyards are traditionally open and face in the direction of the south to permit maximum exposure to the sun while blocking the cold north winds. Frequently, the scale of the courtyard is so tiny that it simply serves together a light tower that serves to collect and harvest rainwater from the sloping rooftops. Moreover, they also serve as vents to allow hot waiting to increase up and out, and also cool air to go into the building. (Chinese design – Wikipedia, n.d.)

Typical siheyuan dwelling

Courtyards act as binding agents in between different structures and administer for a place of stop or remainder in the development of a collection of places to go through. It i do not care a threshold to an important space like a ar of praise or the royalty becoming the certified dealer that would draw world to the space. 

Sign up Now

At bigger scales, a courtyard acts together a staged spectacle the draws people out of their homes and also into the public round tending to the person need of seeing and also being seen. They become important spaces that urbanity and also encounters at a city level. 

Courtyard as a threshold at the entrance of Forbidden City 
Courtyard as public room at Forbidden City 

5. Feng Shui

Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese concept of geomancy derived from Chinese cosmology, Confucianism, and also Taoism. These dictate the business principles and also construction layouts from basic dwellings to royal structures. Few of the architectural values are pointed out in the image below.

Feng Shui cardinal compass 

It is believed that embodiments that evil and also their power travel in right lines. Hence, a screen wall surface usually faces the main entrance that the house. Moreover, talismans, pictures of gods, Fu Lu Shou are shown at the entrance to ward off angry spirits. Details colors, numbers, and also cardinal orientations are thought to reflect a form of immanence. 

Sign increase Now

The bigger orientation that the building is follow me its north-south axis through its earlier facing elevated landscape to ensure the water collects in the front. Moreover, the earlier of the framework is usually facing north with minimal or no openings to protect the occupants from the harsh north winter winds. 

Bodies of water prefer pools, ponds, wells, space typically built into the structure as a method to show the self-sustenance the the household. Moreover, a body of water is claimed to nourish the heart through its calming effect and hence is a celebrated element in Chinese architecture. 

While a variety of these ideas are contained to Chinese history and tradition, numerous of these space at their core merely responses come the environment, topography, and climatic problems of the context which could be used anywhere in the world. This cosmological concepts are used at every scale including the city planning level of certain cities like Beijing and Chang’an. (Chinese design – Wikipedia, n.d.)

Sign increase Now

6. City Planning 

Chinese politics power and also their enjoy of the built communities to be articulated by the boundary defining the outer and inner. Urban were developed by developing a progression of gated communities that permitted the owner of the family of the ruler to feeling safe inside. 

As one would go into the door the structures on the periphery would it is in public in nature and also as one relocated towards the inside, it came to be increasingly private and secure. The activity from one building to another was v intervening courtyards and also hence limit access to the main point of the complex. One such example is the emperor’s royal residence which due to this factor was named the “Forbidden City”. (Cartwright, 2017)

These gated neighborhoods eventually created the need for interaction in between citizens and also a dire require for urban space. An attempt to rest the introverted nature that the cities was make in Liaodong Bay wherein Tianzuo Studio suggest 80 public buildings while retaining the timeless structures the the houses. While it to be not an effort in vain, that was only a surface-level proposal to resolve the city planning issue prevalent. (KAMMERBAUER, 2019)

Sign increase Now
Liaodong Bay new City grasp Plan 

Another instance is the city of Anting, planned and designed by Albert Speer and also Partner, a Frankfurt-based firm. Anting was at first a ghost town in i beg your pardon a European design of a city was imposed with a main marketplace, city hall, location of worship, which was surrounded by mix-use structures oriented in every direction. However, the traditional facets of Chinese architecture of Feng Shui were not taken into consideration, and hence the city was turned right into a spectacle debacle and ironically earlier into a ghost town. (KAMMERBAUER, 2019)

Anting brand-new City master Plan 

While the western influence is crucial to educate concerning an innovation and create awareness that the possibilities, that is important to understand and learn from one’s ancestors. The western influence didn’t stop at the urban level however brought countless distinct yet alien modern buildings in ~ an architectural scale to China. 

Recently, however, contemporary Chinese design is relocating on; that is now referring inwards to itself rather than exterior to others. This resulting age step in architecture brought about many iconic buildings that are an instance of the perfect mix of timeless and modern-day architecture. 

Sign up Now

7. Traditional aspects in modern architecture 

After the so late 1970s once the Chinese economic reform initiated a new period in China, whereby Chinese architects began reconsidering the international architectural fads led through the West. A specifically revolutionary project developed by an American Chinese architect I. M. Pei to be the Fragrant Hill Hotel in Beijing. He created an prominent masterpiece by combining his expertise of the contemporary styles native the west and also his deep-rooted Chinese culture. 

Following the propensity of horizontality, the hotel is a low-slung building set in a organic landscape. It reflect the vernacular language that white walls and also grey tiles through a central atrium. To peak it turn off he likewise created a Chinese garden maze using multiple noodles points leading to a delightful surprise at every turn. (I. M. Pei’s Ground-breaking Fragrant Hill Hotel, Revisited – M+ Stories, 2017)

I.M. Pei’s Fragrant Hill Hotel 
Central Atrium that the hotel 

While classic Chinese architecture is iconic and also well identified in its own way. Many elements of the need adjust to accommodate the needs of the people and also to save up with existing times. Over there are strong concepts that China has incorporated native the west that deserve to be imposed with that variations in ~ a an international level. 

Sign up Now

8. Mixed-use buildings 

Traditional Chinese design was strictly identified typology based upon its programmatic functions. However, learning from the west influence, an increasing variety of buildings and complexes have embraced a mixed-use approach. The Water Cube is one such example, that was built to host the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics yet is currently a place to shop, eat, and socialize. 12_(Modern Chinese Architecture: style & Styles, 2016)

Water cube Elevation 

Water Cube Interiors 

9. Open floor plan

Modern Chinese design takes on a sleek and futuristic illustration with buildings that are an ext streamlined and open concept rather than the classic modular pavilion ide approach. This permits for a complimentary flow of kind and big open spaces the make their note in the public sphere of China i beg your pardon was earlier posing to it is in a significant issue. The nationwide Grand theater of China is one such example of Chinese contemporary architecture. (Modern Chinese Architecture: design & Styles, 2016)

The Egg Building, Beijing 

10. Verticality 

While classic Chinese architecture was greatly horizontal and low-rise, the massive population growth has forced the country to construct upward and also not outward, creating iconic skylines. (Modern Chinese Architecture: architecture & Styles, 2016)

Skyline of Beijing 


Qiyi, L., n.d. Chinese architecture. Encyclopedia Britannica. Available at: . N.d. Chinese design – Wikipedia. accessible at: .

Cartwright, M., 2017. Ancient Chinese Architecture. Ancient. Easily accessible at: .

KAMMERBAUER, M., 2019. Just how Chinese space China’s plan Cities? – Topos. Topos. Accessible at: . 2017. I. M. Pei’s Ground-breaking Fragrant Hill Hotel, Revisited – M+ Stories. available at: . 2016. Modern-day Chinese Architecture: design & Styles. available at: .

Image Citations

Image 1: Pinterest. N.d. Village Houses/Floorplans – Chinese Architecture and also Fengshui | traditional chinese house, Chinese architecture, Chinese courtyard. accessible at: .

Image 2: Hałun, J., 2009. Chinese garden – Wikipedia. Obtainable at: .

Image 3: Md Rian, L., 2014. Figure 7 (a) Dougong brackets from China (The Sakyamuni Pagoda of…. ResearchGate. Available at: .

Image 4: Pinterest. N.d. A siheyuan built for the movie “Curse that the gold Flower” (directed by Yimou Zhang)
Wulong <武… | Japanese architecture, Chinese architecture, eastern architecture. accessible at: .

Image 5: N.d. HD wallpaper: castle, forbidden city, skyline, cityscape, cloud, asia, beijing | background Flare. obtainable at: .

Image 6: Encircle Photos. N.d. Hall of supreme Harmony Courtyard at Forbidden City in Beijing, China – Encircle Photos. obtainable at: .

Image 7: Feng Shui this particular day Magazine. N.d. Feng Shui style | Feng Shui Today. obtainable at: .

Image 8: Topos. N.d. Exactly how Chinese room China’s to plan Cities? – Topos. accessible at: .

Image 9: Topos. N.d. Exactly how Chinese space China’s planned Cities? – Topos. available at: .

Image 10: 2017. I. M. Pei’s Ground-breaking Fragrant Hill Hotel, Revisited – M+ Stories. obtainable at: .

Image 11: deweywebster. N.d. BEIJING (ARRIVAL). available at: .

Image 12: LEBBEUS WOODS. 2011. REPORT native BEIJING 3: Water Cube. accessible at: .

Image 13: Pinterest. N.d. Happy Magic Water Cube, Beijing, China | Water park, Water park rides, Happy magic. available at: .

Image 14: 2021. The Egg building – AllArchitectureDesigns. easily accessible at: .

See more: What Type Of Relationship Do Two People Who Work The Same Job Share? ?

Image 15: N.d. File:Beijing skyline indigenous northeast 4th ring roadway (cropped).jpg – Wikipedia. available at: .