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Chinese Architecture
Chinese architecture refers to a style of architecture that has taken shape in Asia over the centuries. The structural principles of Chinese architecture have remained largely unchanged, the main changes being only the decorative details. Since the Tang Dynasty, Chinese architecture has had a major influence on the architectural styles of Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam.
The following article gives a cursory explanation of traditional Chinese architecture, before the introduction of Western building methods during the early 20th Century. Throughout the 20th Century, however, Western-trained Chinese architects have attempted to combine traditional Chinese designs into modern (usually government) buildings, with only limited success. Moreover, the pressure for Western-style urban development throughout contemporary China means that demand for traditional Chinese buildings is quickly disappearing.
Features, and Classification
There are certain features common to all Chinese architecture, regardless of specific region or use.The most important is the Chinese architectural emphasis on the horizontal axis, in particular the construction of a heavy platform and a large roof that floats over this base, with the vertical walls not as well emphasized. This contrasts Western architecture, which tends to grow in height and depth. Chinese architecture stresses the visual impact of the width of the buildings. The halls and palaces in the Forbidden City, for example, have rather low ceilings when compared to equivalent stately buildings in the West, but their external appearances suggest the all-embracing nature of imperial China. This of course does not apply to pagodas, which, in any case, are relatively rare. These ideas have found their way into modern Western architecture, for example through the work of Jørn Utzon (see page 221 of Weston (2002)).
Another important feature is its emphasis on symmetry, which connotes a sense of grandeur; this applies to everything from palaces to farmhouses. A notable exception is in the design of gardens, which tends to be as asymmetrical as possible. The principle underlying the garden's composition is to create enduring flow and emmulate nature.
Chinese buildings may be built with either red or grey bricks, but wooden structures are the most common; these are more capable of withstanding earthquakes, but are vulnerable to fire. The roof of a typical Chinese building is curved; there are strict classifications of gable types, comparable with the classical orders of European columns.
 
 
Source:CNPC
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