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Chinese Traditional Philosophies in Architecture and its Revival in the Future

Mu Li University of Edinburgh


+ Abstract:

China is the largest developing country in the world, it has a long history of architecture. From the early Zhou Dynasty, people started to record architectural articles. It occurred to be two major philosophies in the history of China, Confucianism stand for the rules and Taoism stands for free and nature. Both of them influenced the ancient Chinese architecture deeply for a long time. The history of Chinese architecture can be divided into basically three parts, the ancient architecture of feudalism periods, the architecture in the changing period( from feudalism to socialism), and the modern period architecture of People’s Republic of China. Based on the studies I am trying to discuss the current situation of Chinese architecture and the necessity of reviving the traditional Chinese philosophies in architecture.

1. Chinese character of Ru(Confucianism)

2. Chinese character of Dao (Taoism)

+ Contents:

Illustration Credits Chapter1 | Introduction 7 Chapter2 | Confucianism 9 2.1 Ancient City Plans 2.2 Jian 2.3 Chinese Big Roofs 2.4 Decorations

Chapter3 | Taoism 19 3.1 Heaven & Earth 3.2 Yin & Yang 3.3 Elements 3.4 Harmony

Chapter4 | Case Studies 27 4.1 Han Dynasty Changan City 4.2 Tang Dynasty Changan City 4.3 Si He Yuan 4.4 Landscape Gardens

Chapter5 | The Devastation 37 Chapter6 | Architecture Environment in China and its Future 43 6.1 Chinese Pavilion Studies

Selected Bibliographies


+ Illustration Credits: 1. Chinese character of Ru(Confucianism): 2. Chinese character of Dao (Taoism): html 3. The ideal capital city plan in Zhouli Kaogongji : AMuseum/jianzhu/content/chunqiuzhanguo/text/kaogongji.html 4. The ideal capital city plan in Zhouli Kaogongji 2: gdwhlczyk2/ghyjp1/bjyz1/6454.htm 5. Chinese character of Jian: 6. An elevation drawing of the palaces in Tang Dynasty: Article/ShowArticle.asp?ArticleID=316 7. Chinese roof diagram. From left to right is: Pangdian’, ‘Jieshan’, ‘Xuanshan’, and ‘Yingshan’: 8. The capital city of Wu Kingdom designed by Wuzi Xu in Zhou Dynasty: 9. The star map of Zi Wei (Jade Palace): ubbthreads.php/posts/472641 10. The star map of Tian Shi (Market in Heaven): ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php/topics/472632 11. Chinese characters of Yin and Yang: show/3/24/9529f277398b3b2e.html 12. A typical diagram showing the theroy of Yin Yang: item.aspx?id=6 13. the five element diagram showing the relationship of generating and countering: 14. Building fake hills and lakes to improve the environment is a typical methods among Suzhou Gardens: t164890.shtml 15. The plan view of the Changan city of Han Dynasty, and the diagram shows the relationship between stars and palaces: From Astronomy to Humanities Li Xiaobo, Li Qiang. City Planning Review Vol.24 No.9 Sep 2000. P 38 16. The plan of Changan city of Tang Dynasty next to the ruin of Han: rom Astronomy to Humanities Li Xiaobo, Li Qiang. City Planning Review Vol.24 No.9 Sep 2000. P 40 17. Typical arrangement of a Beijing Siheyuan: siheyuan_5.html. 18. The Wanshou Mountain and Kunming Lake in Yi He Yuan: 19-20. The reconstructed palaces in Yuan Ming Yuan, and the ruins: http://; http:// 21. The students were destroying the Dachen Palace during the cultural revolution: 22 Beijing captured by invade armies: 23 Industry started to develop in China in the Westernization Movement: 23 Industry started to develop in China in the Westernization Movement 24 The Chinese Pavlion of Expo 2010: 4%B8%AD%E5%9B%BD%E9%A6%86.jpg. 25 The Sudoku arrangement of the roof garden: O3GOXRYSECFACPG45PCSKJ42IU/articles/23694/date/201010

+ Chapter1 | Introduction:


There are two aims of this dissertation, first of all is to study the two basic philosophies of ancient China, and the influences they left on traditional architecture. Secondly, study the current architecture situation in China. Discussing the necessity and influence of bringing the traditional philosophies back into modern Chinese architecture. Chapter 2 will study Confucianism and the four aspects that it influenced on ancient architecture. Confucianism represents the development of feudalism and class system in ancient China, besides humaneness. The core of it is the system of order and class. The first aspect that it influenced on ancient architecture is the spacial framework(planning).The second aspect is the size or scale of a building. The third aspect is the typical Chinese roof style, and the last aspect is the use of decorations and colours. All these four aspects strongly show the characteristics of feudalism. Chapter 3 will study Taoism, which is completely different from Confucianism. The core of Taoism is balance and natural worship. It has four basic principles in architecture in different scales. First of all is modelling Heaven and Earth. Secondly, is the balance of nature and power, which is known as Yin Yang. The third idea is the five elements theory, it had made great accomplishment in not only architecture but also music and traditional Chinese medicine. The last idea is creating and changing the environment to improve the harmony between human and nature. In chapter 4 there are some case studies to support the studies in chapter 2 and 3. The capital cities of both Han and Tang Dynasty will be studied and compared to show the influence of Confucianism and Taoism through time, and how and why they changed. A case study of Beijing Siheyuan will help understanding Confucianism, and two case studies of Chinese landscape gardens in Qing Dynasty will show the use of Taoism. Chapter 5 will talk about the decadence of traditional architecture, and the architecture environment in the period of moving from a feudalism country to a socialism country. The impact of the western culture, industries, and wars did massive damage to traditional architecture in China. And the great proletarian cultural revolution in the early period of PRC also did damages beyond retrieval. In Chapter 6 will discuss the current architecture environment in China, the future of reviving Confucianism and Taoism in Architecture.


+ Chapter2 | Confucianism:


Confucianism is an ethical philosophy which was developed from the Chinese philosopher Confucius and his theories. The Confucianism was first invented in the Spring and Autumn period, and later developed and consummated during the Qin and Han Dynasty. It was first became the official state ideology of China from the Han Dynasty and remained its position till the end of the Qing Dynasty, the last feudal dynasty in Chinese history. One of the core of Confucianism is humanism, it suggested five basic virtues that every one should follow: Ren (Humaneness), Yi (Righteousness, Justice), Li (Etiquette, Class), Zhi (Knowledge), and Xin (Integrity). The five virtues consisted the basic ethical rules that helped the ruling class to control the state. Besides humanism, the other core of Confucianism is a strait class system. Actually, this was the reason that it could became the state ideology of ancient China, and last for more than two thousands years. Confucianism, on the other hand can be considered as a typical ancient Chinese feudalism standard. It influenced traditional Chinese architecture deeply in many aspects and scales, here are the four typical points.

Confucius, the founder of Confucianism, teaching his students.

3. The ideal capital city plan in Zhouli Kaogongji

4. The ideal capital city plan in Zhouli Kaogongji 2

+ Chapter2.1 | Ancient City Plans:


First of all, the highly ordered spacial framework of a city. To talk about it, the capital cities are the best examples to show this idea. In ‘Zhouli. Kaogongji’3 we can find the regulations of an ideal capital city. According its description an ideal capital city consist of two parts. The first part is the ‘city of palaces’4, it should lie at the center of the whole city to show the unquestionable sublime position of the emperor. In the city of palaces, besides the main palace at the center, the rest of the buildings should be located based on the axes frame created using the main palace as the origin point. The ‘Zu Miao’5 should be built on the west side, it has the function of holding memorial ceremonies for the predecessors. On the east side of the main palace should be the ‘Sheji Tan’6, the place for the emperor to seasonally pray for the prosperity of the country. On the south side should locate the government district. And the markets should locate at the north side. Traditionally, the four orientations have different social positions in China. West comes first with the highest position, and east comes after, south and north come last. The locations of ‘Zu Miao’, ‘Sheji Tan’, government district, and the markets were defined accordant with this order. The second part of an ideal capital city is the ‘outer city’, it is the area for citizens to live and work in. All buildings in the outer city should keep a distance away from the city wall of the city of palaces as a way to show the difference in class. According to the plan regulation of an ideal capital city written in Zhouli Kaogongji, we can see the idea of ‘Li’(Etiquette, Class) in Confucianism had influenced the traditional architecture.

The city wall of Ping’yao City in Shan’xi Province. The best reserved ancient city wall.

5. An elevation drawing of the palaces in Tang Dynasty

6. Chinese character of Jian

+ Chapter2.2 | Jian:


The second aspect is the scale, and arrangement of space of a building. Under the ruling of ‘Li’, every part of a building clearly shows its social position. For instance, the size of each single room is under rigid control. The largest room of an emperor’s biggest palace is always 11 ‘Jian’7 wide, and 5 jian deep. As a house for a people with a high social position(seigniors, politicians,etc.), it’s single room can be built from 3 jian a unit to 7jian a unit related to the level of the social position of the owners. The point is simple and clear, people always can easily know the class, and position of the owner at first time entering the rooms. The arrangement of the space serves the need of class stratification, and ethics(for example, men always have higher position than women in ancient China, and the privacy is a important issue for a family). For instance, an ideal residential house is divided into three parts in the plan. The front part is the place of the main entrance, and the rooms for servants and guests. The mid part normally has a courtyard at the center, and rooms are located symmetrically at the west and east side. The back part is consist of a main room at the center, and several small rooms and small patios at both sides. The female members in the family are not allowed to enter the front part without permission, and the guests are not allowed to enter the mid part without the invitation from the family. Normally, male members of a family live in the rooms at the west side, and the females lives at the east side. As mentioned before, west has a higher position than east, and it fits the positions of male and female in the ancient China.

The Chinese character of ‘Jian’ comes from the shape of the ancient door frame and columns

+ Chapter2.3 | Chinese Big Roofs: The third aspect, is the roof ’s style. Roof is always a very important part of ancient Chinese architecture. It was a signature of the building’s owner. Mainly there are four types of roofs, ‘Pangdian’8, ‘Jieshan’9, ‘Xuanshan’10, and ‘Yingshan’11. Each roof type represent a social class. ‘Pangdian’ is the most distinguished one, it can only be used on the royal palaces, and mausoleums. ‘Jieshan’ is a highest standard for a non royal building, normally people like seigniors and politicians can have their buildings with a ‘Jieshan’ roof. ‘Xuanshan’ was normally applied on the buildings belonged to the educated or commercial group. People like farmers and workers can only build building with ‘Yingshan’ roof. As a result, a man can easily tell the social class of the building’s owner with simply a quick glance at the roofs.

7. Chinese roof diagram. From left to right is: Pangdian’, ‘Jieshan’, ‘Xuanshan’, and ‘Yingshan’.

Typical ‘Jieshan’ roof of an ancient government building.

+ Chapter2.4 | Decorations:


The fourth aspect is the use of decorations and colours. Briefly, yellow is the most distinguished colour that can only be used for the royal family. Red, green, blue, are used by the governing class. Black, white, and grey are used on the rest of the classes. A good example of the decorations is ‘Jishou’. To show the supremacy of imperial power, the roof of the biggest palace should have nine ‘Jishou’ as decorations. The queen’s living palace has seven, five for the concubines living palaces, and 3 for the rest of the small palace buildings. Started from the late Han Dynasty, the government had defined China as ‘the country of rites and etiquettes’. In the long history of ancient China, it created a unique architecture system, and it developed thousands years into a rigidly stratified system by the influence of ‘Li’. Under the ruling of feudalism, the form of ancient Chinese architecture served the imperial power as a tool to spread the idea of ‘Li’. Just like the feudalism, Confucianism and the class system in it, had ruled China for thousands years.

The decorations of the roof edge of Gugong

+ Notes: ‘Zhouli. Kaogongji’ 3 The earliest technical document found in China, written in Zhou Dynasty(1046-771 BC). It includes hand-craft, art, and architecture regulations and manufacture skills. ‘city of palaces’ 4 The ‘city of palace’ is the place where the imperial family lives, and the government locates at. ‘Zu Miao’ 5 Form the influence of ‘Li’, Chinese people worship their predecessors. The royal family has a temple to hold the regular memorial ceremonies to thank their predecessors and wish their bless from heaven. The calendar was designed from the study of stars ‘Yi’. ‘Sheji Tan’ 6 ‘Sheiji’ means state or the country, and ‘Tan’ means temple. Ancient Chinese people believed that the Human world is a projection of the Heaven world, and disasters are the consequences of the anger from the Heaven. To maintain the connection and balance with the Heaven world, the emperor and his politicians saluted to the Heaven emperor and politicians, and ask for bumper harvest and forgiveness. ‘Jian’ 7 It is an ancient Chinese architecture unite. One ‘Jian’ is the plan space that created by four columns in a square order. The size of ‘Jian’ is variable depends on the span between columns. ‘Pangdian’ 8 It is a kind of hip roof, which has four large slopes. The frond and rear slopes intersect at the top to create a large main ridge. The two side hilling slopes meet the front and rear slope to create four curved and angled subsidiary ridges. It is the highest roof type in ancient China. ‘Jieshan’ 9 Ancient Chinese gable and hip roof, similar to the ‘Pangdian’, it comprise slopes on all four sides with large front and rear slopes and small side slopes. Different from a ‘Pangdian’ it creates two vertical gable on two opposing sides. This roof style spread to ancient Korea and Japan started from Tang Dynasty(618-907 AD). ‘Xuanshan’ 10 Ancient Chinese overhanging gable roof. It has two large slopes at the front and back. The two slopes meet at the top to create a main ridge. The two slopes are hung over the walls at the four sides. It has no side slopes, and has two verticals walls instead. ‘Yingshan’ 11 Ancient Chinese flush gable roof. Similar like a ‘Xuanshan’ roof. The only difference is the two slopes stopped at the wall and create a plain vertical side surfaces.



+ Chapter3 | Taoism:


Taoism is one of the oldest philosophical and religious theory in ancient China, it suggest the harmony in between human and nature. Taoism was first created by Laozi12 in the Spring and Autumn period, became a religion in Han Dynasty, and consummated in the Northern ans Southern Dynasties. Taoism started with the worship to the nature (heaven, earth, stars,etc.), and put more attention on the relationship between human and the universe. They believe that human are the connection point that link Heaven and Earth together in a coherent state. Unlike the Confucianism, Taoism reject the ruling of systems and the division of social classes. It suggests that human should live in a nature condition which is philosophical anarchism, and pluralism, and this is the core of Taoism. In the whole history of China Taoism was always hard to be accepted by the ruling class, as it was a potential resistance to their domination. However, although the ruling class don’t prefer Taoism to be a state religion, they do believe in it and worship it. As an example, the ancient Chinese architecture some how shows the distillation of Taoism in four aspects.

Laozi, the founder of Taoism, seek the harmony between human and nature.

+ Chapter3.1 | Heaven & Earth: First of all, the idea of modelling Heaven and Earth12. This idea was first raised in the book of ‘Zhou Yi’13, it is a great way to show respect to the gods in the heaven. Following this idea, many famous cities were built in the early dynasties as giant star maps on the land. According to ‘Shi Ji’14, the first city which followed this ideology was designed by ‘Wuzi Xu’15, he built the capital city of Kingdom Wu in Zhou Dynasty. All the palaces, the city walls, and even the residential buildings are corresponding to the locations of stars. For instance, the Ziwei16 star is the palace of the Jade Emperor17; the Tianshi18 star is the market in Heaven; the Tianyuan19 star is the agricultural field; etc.. In this order, Wuzi Xu built the Capital city of Wu, and all the palaces, buildings accordant with the location of the stars. The other example in ‘Shi Ji’ is the Yuexiao City, designed by ‘Fan Li’. After the conquer of Qin Dynasty, all the cities were ruined and the emperor started the construction of the ‘Xianyang City’20, the arrangement of the city also followed this idea. In Han Dynasty, the capital city Changan 21 is the most typical example of modelling Heaven and Earth though the plan of the city. In my opinion, there two main cause of building the cities as star maps. The first reason is obviously the worship of gods and the desire of creating a link between Heaven and the human world. The second reason I believe is that the social system and the science was not fully developed in the early period, people believed more in superstitions than in science and rationality. In the history of China, the early dynasties always have their cities more based on this ideology. However, as the development of the civilization, the cities gradually turned into a more thoughtful and efficient system.

9. The star map of Zi Wei (Jade Palace)

10. The star map of Tian Shi (Market in Heaven)


+ Chapter3.2 | Yin & Yang:

The second idea is the balance between ‘Yin’ and ‘Yang’22. The theory of ‘Yin Yang’ is famous as a representative of the Chinese traditional culture. This theory was written in the book of ‘Daode Jin’23. An easy example is the balance of Yin Yang makes people healthy, and the unbalance makes people sick. Taoism suggests the balance of Yin Yang helps to reinforce the natural environment which includes every thing in the world like human, mountains, water, or animals, etc.. Taoism believes architecture is a attachment to the nature which is created by human, and it has the potential danger of breaking the local environment from the balance state. As a way to avoid the destruction, the architects and philosophers created many rules and regulations of constructing a building, and the balance of Yin Yang is a important part of ‘Fengshui’24. A good example is the orientation of buildings, there is an old saying:’facing the river and back to mountains’. In this situation, mountains represent Yin, because they are stationary. The water is regard as an element of Yang, because it’s always flowing and never stop. Locating a building in the environment of river and mountains, the front facade should face the river, and the back facade faces the mountain. Reversely, the building is called ‘Yin Zhai’, normally use for placating the manes mountains. People believe it may bring the adversities to the owner and the surroundings.

11. Chinese characters of Yin and Yang

12. A typical diagram showing the theroy of Yin Yang

+ Chapter3.3 | Elements: The third idea is the five elements, the the reinforce and counteract links. Compare with the idea of Yin Yang, the theory of the five elements are more complicated. Taoism defined the relationships between elements as: wood generates fire, fire generates earth, earth generates metal, metal generates water, and water generates the wood in a complete circle. This theory is the early view of the world and its components of ancient Chinese people. Following this theory, people invented the Chinese music system, and the medical system, etc.. It was also a very important part of deigning a building in the ancient time. For instance, as a residential building, if on the east side flows a river, on the west side goes a road, on the south side (the front part) has a pool, and on the north side is a mountain, than this is the best location to build. A building should avoid the situation of the front part is higher than the back part. Because the front part represent the fire and the back part represent the wood, if fire has a higher level than the wood it will burn out the happiness and wealth of its owner. As I can see, the theory of five elements contains a big part of superstition. However, there is a sign of communicate and blend into the surround environment. A quick example: in the theory of five elements, when the sun rises, the moisture from the river on the east side keeps the building a comfortable humidity. And the Mountain on the north side, protects the building from the seasonal wind in the winter.

13. the five element diagram showing the relationship of generating and countering.

+ Chapter3.4 | Harmony:


The last important part is ‘Tian Ren He Yi’25, which means the harmony between man and nature. Different from the second and third ideology. In Yin Yang and the five elements theories, architecture is seen as the attachment into the surrounding. While in the theory of ‘Tian Ren He Yi’, it introduced compromising way to keep the balance. In this theory, it proposed the redesign of the land to create a better environment. Which means, if the Fengshui of a place is not good enough, but it can be improved by some small change to the surrounding, than it is acceptable. Here is a typical example, the ‘Forbidden City’26 of Ming Dynasty. On the north side of the city is the mountain of Yan and the mountain of Jundu, which fits the theory of Yin Yang and five elements. However, to improve the Fengshui for the emperor himself, an artificial hill was constructed at the north end in the Forbidden City called Wansui27 Mountain. The palaces are now having a mountain at the north back side, and this helped to improved the Fengshui for the royal family.

14. Building fake hills and lakes to improve the environment is a typical methods among Suzhou Gardens.

+ Notes: Modelling Heaven and Earth 12 The one of the mainstreams of ideology in the period of Qin and Han Dynasty and before. It means modelling Heaven and learning from Earth. Zhou Yi 13 The oldest book of divine in China. Includes the earliest theories of Taoism. Shi Ji 14 Shi Ji means the book of history, it was the first hisotry book of China. Written by Sima Qian, the historiographer in Han Dynasty. It includes 130 volumes, start from the time of the myth till 122BC. It was a very important resource of studying the history of the early China. It also has some clear record of the architecture and its regulations. Wuzi Xu 15 A strategist of Wu Kingdom in Zhou Dynasty. He designed the Heliu City, which is the capital city of Wu Kingdom. Now is the city of Suzhou. Ziwei 16 Ziwei means the Purple star, the star of the Jade Emperor. It is actually a group of stars. The stars and constellation of this group locates near the north celestial pole and can be observed through out the whole year in the Northern Hemisphere. Jade Emperor 17 The Emperor of the Heaven world in the Chinese myth stories. Tianshi 18 Tianshi means the Market in the sky, it represents the Market in the Heaven. The stars and constellation of this star group can be observed during the late summer and early autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. Tianyuan 19 Tianyuan means the garden in the sky, it actually includes 16 stars. One of the Twenty-eight mansions in Chinese tradition. It represent the garden of the Jade Emperor, and the agricultural fields. Xianyang City 20 It was the capital city of Qin Dynasty in 350 BC. It is believed to be designed by Shang Yang, a famous refomer in that period. The arrangement of the space, and locations of buildings are following the idea of modelling Heaven and Earth. Changan City 21 The city was located 3km north-west of the modern Xi’an Province as the capital city of Han Dynsaty. It was also the start point of the Silk Road. Its population was around 240,000. Same as Xianyang City it followed the city plan follows the Taoism philosophies, and it is the most typical and obvious city to show the idea of modelling Heaven and Earth. Yin Yang 22 Yin and Yang means the two pure opposite force of the natural world. Yin means negative, dark or cold, and Yang means positive, light or warm. Yin and Yang are actually complementary, not opposing to each other. Based

25 on this ideology, Yin and Yang was used as a promary guideline for many things in the ancient China. Such as, the medicine, the architecture, and the philosophies, etc.. Daode Jing 23 Alos written as Tao Te Ching. According to the tradition, this book was written by Laozi in the 6th century BC. The book is based on philosophical and religious theories. Fengshui 24 Fengshui means wind and water. It is a traditional Chinese geomancy system. People believed that it can help to make the buildings coherent with the surrounding and benefit the owner. Tian Ren He Yi 25 The text means Heaven and human become together. It can be described as the final goal of the Taoism. In architecture, people reform the surrounding environment to try to reach the best condition of balance between human and nature. The Forbidden City 26 The imperial city of Ming and Qing Dynasties. It locates in the middle of the Beijing City. It holds all the palaces, and occupies 720,000 square meters. One of the best preserved ancient Chinese architecture group nowadays. Wansui 27 The text means ten thousands years. It was used in the ancient China to wish long life to the emperor.

Case Studies

+ Chapter4 | Case Studies:


From the study in Chapter 2 and 3, we know that the ancient Chinese architecture was influenced mainly by two philosophical ideologies. One is the Confucianism,which represent the order and class. The other one is Taoism, which represent nature worship, and balance. This chapter includes case studies of typical ancient architecture to help the understanding of the preceding chapters. First of all I will make the comparison between the capital cities of Han, and Tang Dynasties to show the different use of philosophies in the city plans through the time. Secondly, I will study on Beijing Siheyuan(Chinese quadrangles), and the landscape gardens of Qing Dynasty as more detailed examples to show the appliance of Confucianism and Taoism in architecture. The reason that I chose to study the architectures in Qing Dynasty is because they were best preserved ancient architectures and they represent the peak of using the ideologies of Confucianism and Taoism in architecture.

15. The plan view of the Changan city of Han Dynasty, and the diagram shows the relationship between stars and palaces

+ Chapter4.1 | Han Dynasty Changan City:


The capital city of Han Dynasty is also known as Changan City, it located not far away north-west from Xi’an(the capital city of Shanxi Province now). It was built on the ruins of the Xianyang City(the capital city of Qin Dynasty), and that limited the construction of Changan in some aspects. The whole city was ordered in an irregular shape, it had straight city walls on the east side facing the plane, and the walls on of the north and west parts were built following the path of Weihe river. Different of the regulations I mentioned in chapter 2, Changan didn’t have the division of City of palaces or the outer city, and it didn’t have a central axis. All the palaces were spread out all over the city and the residential buildings, workshops, and markets were located between the palaces without functional divisions. It is not saying that there was not a class system, it’s saying that the class system was not already applied to the design of the city plan, and the city plan was more influenced by the ideologies of Taoism. As an excellent example to support the description in chapter 3.2, Changan Cty was designed completely following the idea of modelling Heaven and Earth. All the palaces was not located randomly, the locations were determined by the positions of the stars( the shape of Ursa Major and Ursa Minor). In the city plan of Changan, it shows more of Taoism than Confucianism was used in the architecture. I think it was because the civilization was still at a primary stage, the worship the natural and superstition was more powerful than rational and pragmatic thoughts.

Key characteristics of Changan City of Han Dynasty: 1 The irregular shape of the city plan, and no central axis. 2 The ideology of class system (the core of Confucianism) was not applied on the city plan yet. 3 The whole city plan shows the idea of modelling Heaven and Earth( one of the basic theories of Taoism). 4 No clear functional division in the city plan.

16. The plan of Changan city of Tang Dynasty next to the ruin of Han.

+ Chapter4.2 | Tang Dynasty Changan City:


Tang Dynasty, was one of the longest and strongest periods in the history of China. Its capital city was named Changan, the same as the capital city in Han Dynasty. It was known as ‘Khumdan’ for the foreigners in that time. The Changan city of Tang had over one million population, it occupied 83.1 kilometer squared(the largest city in the history of ancient China), and it was the economic center of the world. Opposite to the Changan City in Han Dynasty, this city was in a very neat and logical order. The whole city was consist of three parts, the city of palaces, the government district(located due south, next to the city of palaces), and the outer city. It was a perfect example to show the influence of Confucianism in the spacial framework of a city plan. The whole city was based on a perfect rectangle shape lied on a plane, it was divided into 110 small districts by 14 streets going east-west direction and 11 streets going north-south direction. A central axis went through the city from the east end to the north and stopped at the main gate of the city of palaces. The circulation system of Changan was very convenient, the widest street lied on the central axis and it was 155 meters wide, and the narrowest street in Changan still had 20 meters width. The whole city of Changan looked like a chessboard in a plan view. Each district was designed with unified specification, and separated by functions. For instance, all the districts on both sides of the central axis were 325 feet wide(east to west), and most of them were residential area for the citizens. All the districts on the two sides of the government district and the city of palaces were 650 feet wide(east to west), all the secondary official departments and official residences were located in there. Two markets at the center of both east and west parts served the whole city. The west market was used for the daily consumptions, and the east market was a upmarket area of entertainments and luxury cosumptions. In the city of palaces, the location of all buildings folllowed the regulations in Zhouli Kaogongji(chapter 2.2). It had the Zu Miao at west and Sheji Tan at East, the main palace was located at the center on the axis, and all other palaces located symmetrically on both sides. Changan city of Han Dynasty was mainly based on the Taoism idea of modelling Heaven and Earth, the Changan city of Yang Dynasty was mainly based on the rules and class system of Confucianism. In my opinion it should be a consequence of the development of science, technology, and economic of a civilization, people in Tang Dynasty thought in a more rational way than the people in Han Dynasty. Practically, the Changan city of Tang was more efficient and easy to run.

Key characteristics of Changan City of Tang Dynasty: 1 The largest city in the history of ancient China. 2 Use of central axis. 3 The areas were divided by functions and social class(ruling class, citizens, etc.). 4 The design of the city followed the ideal city plan in Zhouli Kaogongji, showed a strong influence by Confucianism(class system, etiquette).

+ Chapter4.3 | Si He Yuan:


Beijing Siheyuan(Chinese quadrangles) is the classical residential building type of traditional Chinese architecture in northern China. The idea of feudal class and patriarchal system was clearly reflected in the arrangement of the space arrangement of Siheyuan. Typically, a Siheyuan is in a rectangle shape, Si means the number of four in Chinese, it represent the buildings located along the four sides in the rectangle space. The buildings in different sides have different functions with unified specification. The buildings lies along the north side are always the main living room, and the bedroom for the head of the family(normally the old members). The buildings on the east are always the living rooms for the female members, and the buildings on the west side for the male members. Normally it has the main entrance and the buildings for guest and servants at its south. The plan of a Siheyuan is always symmetrical, and the number of buildings that contained in a Siheyuan is always an odd number. The smallest Siheyuan has one building on each side but south if the family can’t afford the servants. This regulation is always the same of all Siheyuan type of residential buildings. At the center of a Siheyuan is a rectangle courtyard which contains greens and sometimes a small pool at the center. The plan of a Beijing Siheyuan fits well with the regular structure of a Chinese family. Also the different size, numbers of buildings, and roof types shows the different position of its owner.

An old Beijing Si He Yuan now use as a Primary School

18. The Wanshou Mountain and Kunming Lake in Yi He Yuan.

19-20. The reconstructed palaces in Yuan Ming Yuan, and the ruins.

+ Chapter4.4 | Landscape Gardens:


Chinese landscape garden is a classical type of architecture that shows the idea of ‘Tian Ren He Yi’, and Yin Yang of Taoism(in chapter 3.2). The harmony between human and nature was the only thing that a typical Chinese landscape garden aims for, a well designed garden should be built as a part of the nature with the sense of poetry and drawings. In ‘Yuan Zhi’, written by Ji Chang the great landscape designer of Ming Dynasty, he listed three key features of creating a harmony artificial nature landscape. First of all, the should be the contrast between compressed and loose. Secondly, the use of curve and straight lines should be combined. The third feature was to making artificial hills and water elements to help improve the Fengshui of the place. Most of the traditional Chinese landscape gardens that still exist nowadays were built during Ming and Qing Dynasties. Yi He Yuan was built in 1750 AD as an imperial garden by the emperor of Qing Dynasty, and now it works as a national landscape scenic spot. Following the idea of Yin Yang, the architects created two elements in the garden. A 59 meters tall artificial mountain(the Longevity Mountain) was constructed in the north end of the garden as the element of Yin, and all the palaces on the mountain create a straight line goes north-south direction to represent the ‘stairs to Heaven’, and Kun Ming Lake is an artificial lake built in the south which represent the power of Yang which contains three artificial island to represent the three holy places in the myth of Taoism: Penglai, FangZhang, and Yingzhou. The three islands spread equally in the lake to represent the the harmony of the environment. Yuan Ming Yuan was different from all the other traditional Chinese landscape gardens. On one hand, it followed the regulations in Yuan Zhi. The whole garden was consist of many lakes and islands as a expression of Yin Yang of Taoism. On the other hand, it was a combination of eastern and western architecture. The construction of the garden took 150 years to finish and foreign missionaries were involved to help the design. Some of the building was designed in Baroque style, and it was the first time of using perspective drawing technique in architecture design.

Beijing City in Qing Dynasty

Beijing City in Rebulic of China

The Big Desvestation in the Early People’s Rupublic of China

+ Chapter5 | The Devastation:


China has a different developing progress from other countries. It has the longest period of feudalism in the world history for more than 2000 years. However, it took only less than 100 year for the country to move from feudalism to socialism, and from a agricultural society to a industrial society. The change happened in China was rapid and lack of buffering, and the communication and collision between the modern western culture and the traditional Chinese culture did a large amount of damage to the culture and architecture. In order to explain why the traditional Chinese architecture, and philosophies mostly vanished in the modern China I think there are three major factors. First of all is the political environment was not stable enough for the development of of the traditional architecture and philosophies. Start from the end of Qing Dynasty till the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, this period was covered by wars. In this short period China has experienced invasive wars and civil wars uninterrupted. Instead of an exclusive leadership of the imperial power, there happened to be many warlords and local governments that were in charge in different places. As I mentioned before the core of Confucianism was the strict class system, and that made it very welcomed by the imperial power. As the government no longer belonged to the imperial family, and the the wars pushed China to accept new ideologies from the world. Many new ideologies and theories were invited into China. The theories of Confucianism was not suitable for the war situations, and as a consequence, it was no longer appreciated by the politicians in China. Taoism always prefers the philosophical anarchism and pluralism, as a result it was still not welcomed by the politicians just like in the ancient time. Instead of Confucianism and Taoism, the rational and practical ideologies of the western society started to became the mainstream in China, and finally became the fight between capitalism and socialism. In a short conclusion, the traditional philosophies didn’t work in the war period, and this is one of the reason that we lost the spirit of the traditional Chinese architecture. The second factor was the need from the society had changed. During the changing period, the structure of the traditional agricultural social productive forces was no longer strong enough to support the war and the economic. Thus, it was gradually abandoned, and the more efficient industrial productive structure was introduced to the society. Therefore, the requirements and the technologies of architecture were also changed from before. In the long period of feudalism, most of the types of buildings use timber as main material, and the production activities were slow and inefficient. For the architecture, the requirement of its space utilization and strength of structure were relatively low. Since the rise of the industrial society, and the reinforcement of the social productive forces. The architecture in China started to become more polynary. More materials were used in the construction of buildings and new building structures were applied to support the buildings depend on their different functions. Refer to the traditional architecture in the feudalism period, the architecture started to focus more on its practicability than the philosophical cultural elements hidden in it.

21. The students were destroying the Dachen Palace during the cultural revolution

22 Beijing captured by invade armies.

23 Industry started to develop in China in the Westernization Movement

+ Chapter5 | The Devastation:


The first two factors took place all along the period of changing from feudalism to socialism, and the third major factor was an event which was more destructive than the first two factors. It was the great proletarian cultural revolution28 launched by Mao Zedong29. The civil war in China was the confrontation between capitalism and socialism. The victory of the communist party of China represent the complete disappearance of feudalism and capitalism. After 17 years of the establishment of PRC, Mao launched the cultural revolution. In his announcement, he defined all the things that last from before are the representative of feudalism, superstition, and capitalism. As a way to protect the victory of socialism and the benefit of the proletarians, most of the old things were destroyed, and that included many precious buildings such as temples, mausoleum, and palaces. For instance, mausoleum and temples of Confucius, the old city wall of Beijing city, and the mausoleum of Genghis Khan, all of these were destroyed during the cultural revolution. As a conclusion, the devastation of the traditional architecture and philosophies were caused by mainly three factors. First of all, the traditional architecture and philosophies were no longer suitable for the rapid development of China. Secondly, the development of technologies and industries replaced the position. And thirdly, the extremely radical treatment to the historical relics during the beginning of modern China. In my opinion, the disappearance of the traditional architecture and philosophies could be a natural choice. Although, the change happened in China was far more quicker than in any other countries throughout world, which made a lack of time for buffering. I think it would still be the same result if China had more time to finish that changing progress, because a civilization needs development and in the progress only the suitable things have the opportunity to keep developing. However, it doesn’t mean that it is right to destroy the traditional things. All the things that were destroyed during the cultural revolution are the carriers of the cultural and traditions of ancient China. Nowadays, as the economical and political environment in China is stable and getting more enlightened, we have the opportunity, and conditions to study the traditional Chinese architecture and the philosophies. Perhaps, one day the spirit of them could revival through the modern architecture in a new form, and reversely, help the modern Chinese architecture to develop to a new stage.

+ Notes: The great proletarian cultural revolution 28 It was a social political movement took place from 1966 till 1976 in China. Launched by Mao Zedong. The aim of this movement was to reinforce the socialism in the country and move away the capitalism and all the traditional cultural elements. Some scholars believe it was a move by Mao Zedong to save his losing power after he failed the great leap forward policy. This movement paralysed China politically, economically, and culturally. Mao Zedong 29 The chairman of the communist party of China. He was a revolutionary and political theorist, established the People's Republic of China in 1949.

Liang Si’Cheng


Architecture Society

+ Chapter5 | The Devastation:


Between the end of Qing Dynasty and the start of PRC(known as the modern China), there was a little period that the Chinese architecture grew in a fast speed. During the time of 1840-1900, cities like Shanghai, Guang Zhou, and Tianjing, opend to the world as trading ports, and the westernisation movement stared straight after. The western architecture came into China in mainly three ways: the preaching activities by the church, the commercial trading with western countries, and the transmission through the folk. As an evidence, the first industrial buildings in China was constructed in this 60 years. Many Chinese architects studied in foreign countries gradually came back and built their country with great ambitions. A lot of their first works located in the trading port cities, and many of them designed the school buildings as a test. After years of seeking, and practicing, the new western architecture styles spread into other cities in China. In that period the collision with the western architecture was destructive to the traditional Chinese architecture. In that period most of the new built building were in western classicism, and eclecticism style. Not all the architects ignored the importance of passing on the traditional Chinese architecture theories. In 1929, the first architecture society established in Beijing as a private academic community, they named it ‘Yingzai Xueshe’. The principal goal of this community was to research the traditional Chinese architecture, and publish their study on their own architecture magazine:’China Yingzao Xueshe Collection’. This community did a great contribution of preserving the traditional Chinese architecture, and tried to combine the Chinese elements into western architecture as an experiment to evolving the traditional architecture. Liang Sichen was the member of the community, he wrote the ‘History of Architecture’ based on many studies of the community. However, in 1946, one year before the foundation of PRC, the community was disbanded with political issues, and the studying of traditional Chinese architecture was stopped by the pressure of communism. It was the last try by the Chinese architects to preserve the traditional architecture, and after the establishment of PRC, the architecture environment in China was quite limited. At the beginning of PRC, as a communism country, China repel all the influence from western societies as a movement to show its counter against capitalism. This action strongly refused the development of modern architecture. However, it didn’t give a chance to develop the traditional architecture as well. As I mentioned before, the traditional culture of ancient China was also a thing that the government wanted to abandon by the cultural revolution. As a result, most of the early architecture of the modern China were designed in Soviet styles as a proof of its political ideology.

The architecture market was very active at the begining of the reform and opening-up policy.

Most of the new buildings in Pudong were designed by foreign architects.

Chinese architects are becoming more competitive in China than before.

+ Chapter6 | Architecture Environment in China and its Future:


The current architecture system in China is completely different from the traditional architecture. The traditional architecture was highly developed for 2000 years with fully-fledged, unique forms and theories. However, it didn’t survive the revolutions and changes that happened in China. The start of modern architecture in China began in 1800s, and its development was stopped by the wars. Compare with the western countries, the architecture in China was far behind. The restart of modern architecture education in China was in 1950s. Most of the famous Chinese architects in that period were educated abroad, they founded the earliest architecture education programs in universities after they came back to China. Start from that point, western architecture had taken the biggest place of Chinese architecture education and markets, and it will take a long time for the modern Chinese architecture to catch up and create its own unique characteristics. Nowadays, as the economic and urbanization have been growing rapidly, China has become the largest architecture market in the world. The pressure on the nativesarchitects is massive, and it causes the limit of innovations and push the current architecture environment in China to become highly commercial and stereotypical. In the past decades, China made its decision to chase the speed and scale of economy growing and modernism by the cost of quality and originality of its architecture. Being an architect in China is hard, the pressure of quantities of work and limitation of time holds down the development of architecture in academic aspect. In most of the universities, architecture is taught as a science subject, which focuses more on practicability and technologies. The students have solid knowledges of building regulations and working skills, but lack of aesthetic or theoretical foundations. Architecture is treated as a kind of industry rather than a kind of culture. Which is why many Chinese architecture student choose to study abroad after finishing their undergraduate programs as a an opportunity to improve. This century is the century of information explosion. The speed and methods of spreading and updating knowledges are far more quicker than in the last century. The exchange of informations becomes easy, and it helps Chinese architecture to shorten its lag in a short time. Native architecture finally reached its bottom and bounce back up with a strong power. Everything has two side, as the high speed development in economic slowed the development of Chinese architecture in the last decades, it now offers a great stable platform for native architects to work and compete in return. Economic growth gives back wealth to the society, and the internal political environment is becoming less restrained as a significant sign of the good changes happening in China, which offers the native architects a less restricted environment to do academic research and theoretical studies. The offices like Urbanus in Shenzhen, and MAD in Beijing are the typical examples of new experimental architectural offices in China. Rather than working on commercial projects, these architects are more interested in finding the a particular solution for modern Chinese architecture. Some of them has already started their experiments of bringing traditional Chinese culture into modern architecture

+ Chapter6.1 | Chinese Pavilion Study:


The Chinese Pavilion designed by the architect He Jingtang is a good example of creating the unique modern Chinese architecture style. Many traditional Chinese elements were used in the design, and according to the studies from Confucianism and Taoism in Chapter 2 and 3 I can see the traditional philosophies were applied in the design. Although some people criticise the Chinese Pavilion to be a production of formalism, I think the spirit of trying to revive the traditional philosophies in architecture can not be ignored. The pavilion is located at the central of the expo park. The basic shape of the plans is a square which represent Earth. The whole building is designed to be an inverse pyramid with four huge rectangle columns lifting the main structure up from the ground level. Which looks like an ancient Chinese bronze quadripod and creats a magnificent view. The façades are made of traditional Chinese brackets in large scale, they actually do not transfer the load from the upper structures to the columns, it is done by the steel structure behind it. The brackets arej decorations only, and this is the biggest point that many people criticised it to be formalism. In the top roof view, we can see the roof garden is equally divided into nice pieces which is similar like the drawing in Zhouli Kaogongji of designing a city plan. In the idea of Taoism human is not perfect, nine is the best number that human can achieve, and the number of ten only belongs to the gods. The pavilion uses red as its main tone to represent the element of fire. According to the theory of five elements(chapter 3), fire generates earth, the colour and the shape of the building are perfectly fit with each other in a cycle according to Taoism. On the other hand, the influence of Confucianism shows in its plan and section. The building is symmetrical in both aspects, like many ancients palaces, and also functionally distributed clearly. The ideas of Confucianism do not show much on this building clearly. I think the reason is because the strongest idea of Confucianism in ancient Chinese architecture serves the class system, and as for now, the appropriate ideas that we can use it the idea of rules and regulations.

Chinese Pavilion in Shanghai Expo 2010. It was designed in the shape of an ancient ‘Ding’

+ Selected Bibliographies: Jiafei Zhu (2009). Architecture of Modern China A Historical Cirtique. New York: Routledge. p41-136. Gin Djih Su (1994). Chinese Architecture Past and Contemporary. 3rd ed. Hong Kong: The Sin Poh Amalgamted. p20-77, 125-130. Dr Evelyn Lip (1995). Feng Shui Environments of Power A Study of Chinese Architecture. London: Academy Editions. p10-36, 86-105. Liang Sichen (1999). History if Chinese Architecture. 2nd ed. Beijing: Baihua Publisher. p10 -57, p-77-93. Wu QingZhou. (1995). ancient Chinese philosophies and city plans. Architecture News. 8 (3), p46-47. Gao Mei. (2002). The Philosophies and Theories in Ancient Chinese Architecture. Forim on Architecture. 4 (2), p18-21. Wen Wei Hua. (2000). Tian Ren He Yi and Architecture in China. Culture and Architecture. 5 (3), p18-20. Wu QingZhou. (2009). Modelling Heaven and Earth in the Historial City Plans. Culture and Architecture. 31 (1), p31-39.

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