Linking Themes in Chinese Architecture

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Linking Themes in Chinese Architecture Linking Themes in Chinese Architecture The basic feature of Chinese architecture is rectangular-shaped units of space joined together into a whole. Temples in ancient Greece also employed rectangular spaces, but the overall effect tended to austerity. The Chinese style, by contrast, combines rectangular shapes varying in size and position according to importance into an organic whole, with each level and component clearly distinguished. As a result, traditional Chinese style buildings have an imposing yet dynamic and intriguing exterior. The combination of units of space in traditional Chinese architecture abides by the principles of balance and symmetry. The main structure is the axis, and the secondary structures are positioned as two wings on either side to form the main rooms and yard. Residences, official buildings, temples, and palaces all follow these same basic principles. The distribution of interior space reflects Chinese social and ethical values. In traditional residential buildings, for example, members of a family are assigned living quarters based on the family hierarchy. The master of the house occupies the main room, the elder members of the master's family live in the compound in back, and the younger members of the family live in the wings to the left and right; those with seniority on the left, and the others on the right. Another characteristic of Chinese architecture is its use of a wooden structural frame with pillars and beams, and earthen walls surrounding the building on three sides. The main door and windows are in front. Chinese have used wood as a main construction material for thousands of years; wood to the Chinese represents life, and "life" is the main thing Chinese culture in its various forms endeavors to communicate. This feature has been preserved up to the present.
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