Styles of Architecture House

July 21, 2011
The Most Popular Iconic

Detail from the Ming dynasty Carpenter's Manual showing the best places to site a house. The text for the house to the right says: "If there is a rock resembling a wine jar, the house changes into a 'site of fullness.' The family will be rich and as soon as a wish is pronounced, gold and silver will come pouring out." source

Orientation

One of the most striking aspects of Chinese domestic architecture is the practice of making houses face south. Archeologists have found that many Neolithic-period houses were rectangular with a south-facing door. Zhou period settlements were also organized on a north-south axis. These early dwellings no longer exist, but houses in China, the earliest of which date from the Ming dynasty, also show a tendency to face south. Houses built today are also built facing south, if space allows.

The importance of orientation developed into the practice of feng-shui which literally means "wind and water" but is often translated as geomancy.

Click here to learn more about feng-shui (geomancy). Feng-shui concepts also dictated the kinds of material used in buildings. Combined with the location of the building, the proper building materials were thought to re-direct beneficial energy for the inhabitants. The most common building materials for houses in China are earth and wood, both of which have positive associations.

Source: depts.washington.edu
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