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Traditional Chinese Architecture

Chinese Architecture Preface


Architectural style may be regarded as a reflection of the life and the culture of the people in a particular history period. Each great architectural work is an integral part of its own time, and expresses the culture and technology of the particular period in history. Architecture styles have greatly changed over the course of time. Traditional architecture is today but a remnant of the past, an antique ruin which a modern architect may admire but would hardly seek to imitate. Architectural style changes over time, just like the flows of water in a river – today’s water is no longer the same as yesterday’s; but in any valid architecture there always remains an underlying system that gives the architecture its validity, just as the way that water flows in the river – it swirls, and swirls where it is supposed to swirl.

It is not the intention here to provide a history of Chinese architecture, but want to search for the roots of the Chinese architecture, for the system that gave Chinese architecture its distinct nature. Traditional architecture in a large country with a long, diverse history such as China must contain many appropriate and time-lasting architectural solutions. Learning from the past can help us ensure the continuation of our culture, and provide us with some useful resources and reference materials to apply to contemporary architectural problems. China is a nation of vast territory, long history, and rich resources. Great differences in geographical and climatic conditions have caused marked diversity in the architecture of various regions in China. However, it is possible to discern the underlying distinctive common characteristics.

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