The Modern Chinese Architecture Lost Cultural Studies Essay

" A great architect is not made by way of the brain nearly a great deal as he is created by way of your cultivated, enriched heart" regarding to Frank Loyd Wright

In other words, architecture and culture are meticulously linked to each other, as they signify time, space and background. In addition, from what amount has China's traditional structures been transformed or influenced by the present day society and has this damaged the principles in society as time passes? Noticing this, I have a curiosity to discover to what degree China architecturally shows its ethnic identification in modern architecture.


Traditional architecture can be described from various aspects, regarding to William Miller, "Traditional structures respond to a variety of concerns associated with the particulars of place: geography, climate, overall economy, available materials and skills, social conventions, mythical values and metaphysical aspirations. " Chinese structures is rolling out over 5000 years through several dynasties and centuries, undergoing social, financial and politics transformations. Specifically, within the last ten years, modern Chinese architecture has been developing rapidly.

After the beginning of the Opium Wars in the 1840s, Chinese architecture started to mix Chinese language style and american architectural characteristics alongside one another. Complexes like restaurants, hotels and stores began to incorporate european construction elements. Chinese language architecture gradually launched more different varieties of western buildings; types of these include overseas consulates, lenders and clubs. Since the past due 19th century, China has followed European styles of building; unique and set up in multiple styles. After the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, China entered another era; the prepared economical system accelerated the development of modernization. Since the 1980s, European trained Chinese architects have attemptedto incorporate traditional Chinese language and modern design jointly. However, the traditional skills of Chinese language architecture remain put on the construction of local architecture. As a result, Chinese architecture came into the modern era, a fresh historical period and the style became more open up and spectacular.

The adjective "Modern" is defined as something new and has been accepted by modern culture nowadays; it differs from traditional styles. New types of building elements, e. g. theatres, hotels, restaurants, performance halls, offices and departments blending western and Chinese language elements can all be defined as 'modern'. This was a result of the advantages of international materials and equipment, foreign design, and architectural theory extensively in foreign countries; as well as further activity in the structure of academic ideas and building creative ideas. New structures was presented with a number of patterns in very different styles. Contemporary architecture has opened a new chapter of Chinese architecture in rising new architectural varieties and grouping composition e. g. use of cup walls, tooth wall surfaces, translucent halls, revolving restaurants, landscaping and other new constituent elements. From old and imperial China to today's People's Republic, China is becoming more available and creative which correlates with other countries architectural development.

Chinese's structures has lost its ethnic identity:

Shape and form:

Looking at historic structures and modern structures in China, the facade of the architecture is the most significant part as it is the first thing we notice about a building. Elements that straight appeal to our senses are space, lines, shape, texture, shade, light and dark; these are being used as a form of composition in an architectural design. Lines is often found in structural materials as it helps to create a basic structure, exactly like sketches of lines drawn on paper. How exactly we distinguish the design of a cultural architecture is by the shape and framework of the architecture. Architecturally, whenever we take away the colour, take away the materials what remains would be the simplest framework of the building. Lines can be solid or thin, in a straight line or curved, jagged or even, light or heavy. Form is created when lines are enclosed alongside one another. Imagine attracting four similar lines in some recoverable format to create a square, that is clearly a shape but in a two-dimensional surface. A three- dimensional condition is produced by perspective which is applied to architecture.

Firstly, historical Chinese architecture focuses on the width of building and contemporary Chinese language architecture will build in height and depth instead. The building format historic Chinese architecture is principally rectangular and the framework is recognized by axes. All of the houses are associated together into a complete and form a village. The basic principle of the building structure has been transported over several dynasties. A number of the ancient Chinese complexes are still well conserved nowadays. For example, traditional rectangular Chinese housing complexes are divided into several rooms. Commonly, the center of most cover would be a shrine for the deities and the ancestors, the surrounding area provide for living. Both attributes next to the center area are for the elders, and the other rooms are for the junior members of the family, the living room, dining area and kitchen. The size of the dwelling house will depend on the size of the family; if the family size is big, there were even two extra pairs of wings built.

http://rasktravel. com/wp-content/uploads/shanghai_skyline_g2. jpeghttp://background. cultural-china. com/chinaWH/upload/upfiles/2009-07/13/a_look_at_daily_life_in_historical_china2c6691735f05bc5410c6. jpg

Image 1 image 2

Tsang Tai UK can be an example of historical Chinese housing, it is a Hakka walled village in Shatin Hong Kong, among the finest preserved located in Hong Kong. It had been built in 1867 by Tsang Koon-Man for his family's use and now it is listed as Hong Kong level 1 historical building.

The complex of Tsang Tai UK is rectangular with total size of 6000 rectangular feet. It includes three rows of residences enclosed by grey brick walls. The center part of the houses is an ancestral hall where family conferences and ceremonies took place and before the main building is a massive courtyard where villagers dried their harvest and winnow. The four sides of every of the three-storey officer towers have opening slots in the wall membrane through which guns could be fired operating the role of security during conflict time. Through the exemplory case of Tsang Tai UK, the house is well designed; the structure of the home illustrates how traditional Chinese architecture experienced its unique building style and how this is regarded as one element of Chinese social structures. Tiang Tai Uk shows the composition of position two wings on side to form the key rooms and garden. Chinese combines units of space by the concepts of balance and symmetry which is traditions Chinese language typical constructing.

Image3, Tsang Tai Uk, Ancestral hall where family appointment and ceremonies required place

Image4. Courtyard before the key building at

Tsang Tai Uk

As the Chinese population is growing rapidly, modern buildings are designed to maximum level in order to meet the needs of such large capacity. Checking modern building style to historic architecture style, the faades of modern architecture are built in multi-style as there isn't a specific way of creating faades. As modern day architecture has recently become multi-disciplinary the facades are equivalent to others. In term of structural systems, services and systems, the field of structures is unique and set ups are no more framed by certain means of constructing. The techniques of design are gradually becoming more complicated; the structures requires toughness, sustainability, quality, value and conformity with local regulations, as well as taking into consideration the needs of people, population and technology design aspects to produce a liveable environment. This illustrates the way the set up of modern architecture is sophisticated and the development of society requires structures to improve its form and condition.


Even if the structure of the building looks appealing, the decision of materials used is important because it directly impacts the cosmetic of the building. As different materials have different properties, each of them hand out sensory effects on humans, for example, use of glass allows light to type in the building and create a brighter interior area. We realize the attributes of different skill advertising and understand the procedures used by designers and the materials and techniques they used to do the work. Architecturally, the decision of building materials and techniques to produce a comfortable space reflects the culture of that period and the scientific advances at that time.

Wood is one of the primary traditional Chinese structure materials which have been utilized for a large number of years in China. Most Chinese language buildings are designed with timber frames (name given to the whole solid wood construction), and this is how the Chinese build residences. Most of the Chinese structures utilizes timber and rocks with pillars and beams to support the whole weight of the building, which illustrates their essential features. Timber frame engineering has an extended history; its use goes back to two thousand years ago. Matching to Chinese custom, lumber has a metaphorical interpretation behind it- "life" symbolizing the energetic living environment. The main door and windows are designed in leading and the other three edges are ornamented with wall surfaces.

Image 5: Timber frame

The Emperors' Palace in Beijing is one of the example architecture that comprises thousands of timber pieces based on geometry and rational order. The Forbidden City structure began in 1460 which was completed 14 years afterward which was used as a palace for twenty-four emperors from the Mong and Qing dynasties (1644-1911). Another public name for the Forbidden City is the Imperial Palace museum; it's the world major and best-preserved palace among all historical architectures. The structure materials are glazed roofing with coloured tiles, woodwork finished with coloring, white marble and jade, bricks and gold brick, timbers and wall membrane facing of glazed terracotta; lacquer and gilding unite to produce an effect of exceptional richness. It is structured with 10 meter high City wall and a 52 meter-wide moat surround the Forbidden City. The building of the Forbidden City fully illustrates the design of ancient Chinese language palace architecture; it is one of the primary palaces with ethnical relics on the planet. Just from taking a look at the surface, it illustrates the traditional style of historic building framework.

http://www. orientalarchitecture. com/china/beijing/photos/forbidden-city04. jpgImage6

In addition to the utilization of wood, Chinese structures uses materials which can be sustainable over more than 100 years. For instance, the building materials of Tsang Tai Uk in Hong Kong are original granite, bricks and solid timber which remain well conserved today. These show how traditional development is well conserved and this materials used are lasting.

We can notify how a material feels simply by visualizing with this eyes. As technology has developed over time, different types of materials are manufactured to create visual architectural work also to suit individuals needs. Architects use materials to set-up consistency in building, for example, the heavy, jagged stone used in Tsang Tai UK offers it a tough texture whereas carved woods provide a light feeling. Surface suggests the abundant layering of forms and varieties of architecture.

In modern, architects tend to use cup as the faade of structures. The China Central Tv set (CCTV) building is an excellent example of modern use of materials. The CCTV building facade is two leaning conjoined towers. It really is seen as a masterpiece design which creates a fresh image of China. The architects, Rom Koolhaas advertisement Ole Scheeren, designed the building as two L-shaped high-rise towers linked at the very top and at the bottom form a loop. The building is 234m high and it is referred to as a "Z criss-cross" and "a twisted doughnut". The whole tower is protected with glass to illustrate style format. The use of glass gives a modern image and an aesthetically pleasing which completely opposite just how Chinese custom constructing.

http://www. gracechinatours. com/images/beijing/new_cctv_building. jpg

Image 7

The feature of Chinese structures could it be use of rectangular form and the form of creating are similar as it pertains to casing, temple, palace; they are all form from the bottom rectangle form. The deep of interior form depends upon use of solid wood timber frame. Beside form, the use materials in early Chinese are also not the same as the modern structures. Traditional property and palace use real wood, natural stone and bricks for constructing while modern structures mainly use metallic and goblet on home window in multi-style. This illustrates the most important part modern structures lost is its ethnic personal information is on the form and materials use.

Chinese architecture has not lost its cultural identity

Culture and architecture have a detailed relationship as structures is the carrier of culture. From prehistoric time to the present day, China has always hired the initial system of construction that keeps its Chinese characteristic principle. While China is importing elements from traditional western countries, somewhat Chinese architects likewise have conserved its Chinese language style through structures.

The blend of models of space in traditional Chinese language architecture is according to the concepts of balance and symmetry(how and describe). The varieties of ancient Chinese structures observed in palaces, Temples, Tombs, backyards and residences mirror strong Chinese honest and social prices. For example, the ancient vernacular architecture shows the expression of social habits and religious beliefs and the aspirations of folks by its laying structure. The culture of China is one of the world's oldest and most complex, its traditions varying between towns, cities and provinces. For example, the function of the rooftop in Chinese houses not only to shelter the building structure, it also functions to shelter interior from the elements. The curved part at the edge is designed to help ward off evil spirits from a Buddhist perspective. The roofs of temples are constructed of glazed ceramic tiles and there is an overhanging curve recognized by a graceful upwards slope. This shows how Chinese language traditional building structure is related to spiritual opinion. The metaphorical method of traditional architecture shows why historical Chinese architects built in such way.

Even contemporary architects also choose an idea or mental image, then point out this metaphor in the design of architecture. We derive indicating from art works predicated on our sense, feeling and experience to interpret the architectural design. This is one way an art work shows what the artist is trying to demonstrate to the viewer, it is the same as structures but used in a larger level format.

In modern architecture, what architects try to do is include elements of Chinese culture along with modern means of thinking, theory, beliefs and conception in modern architecture to form a new talk about of structures in China today. As many complexes were neglected and destroyed during the guideline of Mao, nowadays modern architects want to protect, reestablish, and reconstruct traditional Chinese language architecture. On the other hand, China is a civilized society which is producing toward modernization, so architects are struggling to present cultural traditions through architecture. The way architects present Chinese's social idea when designing structures for China is either concealed in the faade or the look concept of architecture. Nevertheless, without knowing any Chinese history, it might be difficult to understand the metaphor behind certain properties due to the fact that the faade of all contemporary architectures are all constructed with modern formant materials.

Looking back again to the Forbidden City, exactly why is it a purple city sitting at the centre of the town? Certainly there are meanings behind it. In Chinese tradition, god, the father of Heaven resided in a crimson enclosure that was believed to the constellation made by 15 heavenly body and then converted into the polestar. Regarding to Chinese cosmology, crimson is symbolic of happiness and contentment, also with the meaning of the polestar. Because of this, the Forbidden City is also called "the purple city" and is situated at the guts of the temporal world. It was called "the middle kingdom" resulting in the theory that the Forbidden City reaches the very middle of the world. This demonstrates ancient emperors possessed used Chinese tradition in indicating behind this palace. Also, the north part was seen as a bad direction because the north signifies bad spirits, as wintry winds blow from the north in China. Hence, every one of the properties in the Forbidden City are facing south, the way which is believed to be holiness and protection from icy winds and also catches the sunlight. This idea is named Feng-shui which really is a Chinese beliefs theory; it is used to help harmonize properties with natural sprit. Architecturally, Feng Shui is a set of rule which incorporate complex useful advice and mysticism given by masters. Chinese traditions places the major building along axes which allow an asymmetrical component. It is employed to assess a building's prospects for success or failing according to whether the building's shape and location are pleasing to supernatural forces. Feng-shui was put on the look and building of the Forbidden City. All of the five materials used in the Forbidden City represent the five natural elements of mother nature () which increased the emperor's glory.

But how can tradition be applied to on to modern building? The lender of China in Hong Kong is one of the types of eastern ideas applied onto traditional western style of structure. It was built-in 1988 at central Hong Kong, china. It includes a total level of 315 meters. At that time when it opened in 1990, it was the tallest building in Asia and it still remains as one of the most crucial icon of Hong Kong.


The site of the China Bank was used to torture ratings of local prisoners by japan military police at their headquarters through the Second World Battle. Due to the bloody history, there have been not any Hong Kong companies who consider building on that site. IM Pei is the only architecture firm who accepted this task.

Pei invoked the geometer form of bamboo pushing upward with each joint which is a metaphor for strength and strength in china ethic theory and which has received the support of tradition-conscious Chinese. The building site has included factor of Feng shui. The original culture of mysticism was applied onto the building in order to be accepted by the local population and also to be well-suited for the reason that place. Although Hong Kong is a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China and with sovereignty under the "one country, two systems" theory and was closely influenced by western styles as it was under English rule for a century during 1842 to 1997, Hong Kong effortlessly leans towards eastern culture since the majority of the neighborhood people are thought to be Chinese language. Hong Kong architecturally has a pattern toward the western tall, goblet made, aesthetic buildings. However, the lender of China signifies an atheistic modern culture due to the building's composition. The outer level of the building is protected with reflective glass, and IM. Pei expresses the aesthetic structure by highlighting the building with aluminum cladding, and has generated a faade within an X shape. The lender of China Hong Kong shows the modern design of architecture like the use of materials, the utilization of multi-pattern on the faade. However, the meaning behind the building and the utilization of Feng-shui show how modern structures can still contain Chinese cutlural aspect.

Wang Shu's architecture also shows Chinese language Cultural along with modern form of creating structure. He's the first Chinese language citizen who earned the Pritzker Structures Reward, in 2012. "The question of the correct relation of present to past is specially well-timed, for the recent procedure for urbanization in China invites debate as to whether structures should be anchored in traditions or should look only toward the future, " the jury said in its citation. Wang's architectures shows the role of china's architectural development, how to mix the Chinese tradition with the modern architectures to make a new fresh modern-day building. The major tasks in China will be the Mingbo Contemporary art Museum, completed in 2005 and the Ningbi Historic Museum, completed in 2008 illustrates a kind of combination of culture to modern form of structures. Wang Shu salvaged over two million of tiled from demolished traditional houses to protect the roofs of the campus building. "Everywhere you can see, they don't value the materials, " Mr. Wang said in an interview. "They just want new structures, they just want new things. I think the materials is not simply about materials. Inside it gets the people's experience, storage area - a lot of things inside. THEREFORE I think it's for an architect to do something about it. " From Wang Shu Architectures, the framework format represents the culture as well as the modernization of structures. His architectures unlike other modern architectures' materials use, a glass and metallic, Wang Shu can be applied stone and real wood development onto his design. The form of the structures is built wide rather than level. It also platform on Chinese traditional rectangle condition and create a new form of modern architecture.

Image 9

http://www. dailytonic. com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Ningbo-Tengtou-Pavilion-Shanghai-Expo-2010-Shanghai-China-Photo-by-Lu-Wenyu-1. jpgImage 10


By examining different type of ancient and modern architecture, what I found is that Chinese started adopting traditional western modern building set ups after China was under communist guideline. Modern Chinese structures shows China is constantly changing its system, framework and motivation which are influenced by traditional western culture, knowledge and technology. Facing the new society priorities and new corporations, the historical traditions seems generally disappeared since the 19th century. The historical tradition does not give you a platform to address new demand. Architecturally, modern-day architecture was created to suit modern human's needs. The development of humans, structures have generally become more effective alternatively than packed with cultural coloring.

This trend has been very impressive; including the CCTV properties in Beijing and THE LENDER of China in Hong Kong. After joining the western design of architecture, traditional Chinese style structures has generally diminished in the contemporary society. Somewhat Chinese structures has lost its social value which is on its form and condition. As ancient structures focuses on extensive but modern architecture focuses on elevation and depth. The use of available and valuable resource is how modern architecture built-in multi-style. Unlike historic real estate, modern building is similar; it don't have any fix form of structuring facade. As China is getting into urbanization, the development of contemporary architecture certainly has lost its traditional aesthetic. Secondly, the building materials found in old are mainly timber and bricks while modern structures uses multi-style of modern type materials (e. g. metal and cup) combine alongside one another.

While China is importing elements from european countries, somewhat Chinese architects likewise have conserved its Chinese language style through structures, the metaphoric so this means of the architecture and the use of Chinese early traditional culture of mysticism, the way they build the structures based on the rule of Feng Shui.

The development of culture shows a good example of how old and new can be interpreted and combined. They show power and relevance of old and modern visual in this 21st century.


Primary source

Interview with Corrin Chan, director of Axis of Spin Architecture, Hong Kong

Visited the website of Tsang Tai UK and The Bank of China.


Image 1 (Skyline of Shanghai) http://www. forbes. com/sites/kenrapoza/2011/04/26/luxury-mkt-pushes-shanghai-homes-to-record-prices/

Image 2 (Old Housing)

http://background. cultural-china. com/en/183History5435. html

Image 3 (Tsang Tai UK)

Taken at site

Image 4 (Tsang Tai UK)

Taken at site

Image 5 Timber Frame

http://franceschusblog. blogspot. hk/2011/04/beijing-forbidden-city-pictures-from. html

Image 6 (Forbidden City)

http://www. sinothaiyouth. com/pictures/200707/t20070720_564544. htm

Image 7 (CCTV )

http://www. arcspace. com/architects/koolhaas/chinese_television/

Image 8 (The lender of China)

Taken at the site


http://designalog. wordpress. com/2012/02/28/architecture-wang-shu-2012-pritzker-prize-winner-for-first-time-architect-in-china-wins-top-prize/


http://thecostaricanews. com/building-on-tradition-wang-shu/11546

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