Chinese Architecture

Traditional Chinese architecture can be classified into four categories:
residential houses, royal palaces, recreational structures, and temples. The basic
feature of the Chinese architecture is rectangularity-shaped units of space joined
together into a whole. Their style combines rectangular shapes varying in size and
position according to importance into an organic whole. Each level is clearly
distinguished. So, these Chinese style buildings have a powerful and appealing
exterior. When people come to China the first thing that they notice is the curved
roofs, bold colors, and intricate outlines.
In Chinese architecture the main structure is the axis, and the secondary
structures are positioned at two wings on either side to form the main room and yard.
Residences, official buildings, temples, and palaces all follow these same basic
principles. Another characteristic of Chinese architecture it that they use a wooden
frame structure with pillars and beams. Wood has been a main construction product
for thousands of years. Nails are not used when building a structure, which is
different from us. Wood to the Chinese respectes life, and “life” is the main thing in
Chinese culture. This feature has been preserved up to the present. Builders would
apply a lacquer to the wood to preserve it. These lacquers were made in bold colors,
and this became one of the key ways to identify Chinese architecture. The highly
varied color found on a traditional Chinese building have a symbolic meaning to the
Chinese culture. People would paint dragons, flowers, birds, and landscapes on
these buildings. These are called murals that are painted onto the buildings to give it
more meaning. The Chinese would make a platform, and build the structure on the
platform. A high platform would add strength, elegance, and honor to large
The roofs on the Chinese buildings are also very important. Roofs usually
slope down on both sides in a simple fashion. Traditional southern Chinese
residences, including those on in Taiwan, have ceramic ornamentation on the ridge
of the roof that breaks up the otherwise flowing outline of the building. The curve in
the roofs are still admired by many visitors. This is symbolic of the spirit of Chinese
culture. The building is normally straight forward, so the roof gives it a sort of
There is a large variety in architectural styles that are in Chinese temples. The
religions of the temples vary from Buddhist to Taoist to ancestral and folk religion,
but all of these share the same basic structure. In Taiwan temples are to be seen
everywhere. Temples are the island’s unique cultural features. Over 5,000 of
Taiwan’s temples show architecture significance. Some of the famous traditional
temples in Taiwan are Lungshan Temple, Tienhou Temple, and the Chaoien
Temple. The main elements of the temples include color painting, calligraphy;
wood, stone, and clay structure; ceramics; and cut-and-paste art. By looking at
Taiwan’s traditional architecture we can have a better understanding of China’s rich
folk culture.
It is believed that the Mongols made substantial contributions to the Chinese
architecture. It is now thought that the original structures of Beijing, the Mongol
capital, may have been so bad that Mongolians replaced them. The Mongolians had
emphasized mass in their buildings. The grand city plan used by the architects of
Mongol Beijing was retained and adapted by the Ming and Qing dynasties and
remains a reminder of the Yuan imperial capital. Architecture continued through
many Ming traditions. The Ming then adopted the idea of having rectangular
buildings. Ming temples often had certain details from the Song. The details they
got were there colorfully painted wooden figures that were attached to the interior of
a structure. Then the Qing emperors favored the widespread interior, lacking the
finer details.
Most of the works of Chinese architecture from between 1360 have not
survived. Many of the Chinese buildings were built out of wood. Some structures
such as the Great Wall of China, pagodas, tombs, and some bridges were constructed
of brick and stone. Chinese architecture is characterized by a graceful, overhanging
roof with turned up eaves. The roof was not supported by walls, but supported by
columns. Walls were used only to enclose the room. The roof tiles were covered
with colorful and attractive tiles. With the coming of Buddhism the only change in
Chinese architecture was the buildings of pagodas. These pagodas were built of
brick and tile. For nearly 2000 years Chinese architecture stayed almost the same.
Now the buildings you see in China are more made of stone products then wood.
Chinese architecture has always been very beautiful in every shape