China has a unique and long-standing architectural tradition dating back 2,500 years to the Zhou Dynasty. Explore the reasons behind its features and how Chinese architecture reflects Chinese culture. Since ancient times, the Chinese have built several traditional buildings, which are introduced here.
Since ancient times, the Chinese have used wooden structures, buildings made of rammed earth, and buildings made of stone or brick. Each of these buildings has different characteristics. They were all built to withstand frequent earthquakes, typhoons and floods, and were easier to rebuild. In addition to survivability and ease of renovation, the buildings reflect and contribute to the spread of social order and religion.
•1. Preference for Lumber Construction. Chinese culture originated along the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers. In a watershed environment, seismic activity and frequent flooding have prompted the flexibility to use renewable and workable wood for most buildings.
•2. Heavy Overhanging Roofs . A distinguishing feature of traditional wooden buildings is the heavy tiled roof with broad eaves and slightly upturned corners. It was thought important to cover wooden buildings with an overhanging roof, which protected the building from weathering, as wood rots faster when wet. The wide eaves also provide shade in summer, and in winter, slanted sunlight brings warmth into the room.
•3. Rammed Earth Buildings. In Hakka villages and other places where clan compounds are on the verge of being attacked, people build tulou（土楼）. In these compounds, thick rammed-earth walls, sometimes masonry, without windows, form a circle to create the interior dwellings.