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Chinese Architecture

Traditional towns have usually been composed of three main elements, a north-south alignment, a square and high defensive walls.  

The concept of Yin and Yang (feng shui) played a big role in the development of residences. The north represents cold and shadow (Yin), therefore dwellings shouldn't face north, but south toward the sun (Yang) and light.  

The importance of a square is based on the ancient Chinese belief that the earth is a square while heaven is a sphere.  Everything was built with this in mind, palaces, temples, residences and even entire towns.  

The walls were a reminder of the Shang Dynasty (16-11 BC), when tall walls were built around towns for military defense. More recently, defensive walls have given way to ring roads.  Ring roads are roads that surround a town and are usually lined with residential housing.  

Large gates are not readily found anymore, and temples, pagodas can be found within historical areas.  Housing is now comprised of large standardized apartment complexes crowded together to get optimum use of the land.  

The large coastal towns, however, have attempted to broaden their architectural styles from just monotonous designs to international-styles.

 


 

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