The style of architecture, to some extent, is a reflection of the culture and custom, and always influenced by the climate and the geography. Thus, the Chinese architectural styles varied from region to region, time to time.
The Chinese architectural styles
The Chinese architecture falls into two parts: the official architecture and the folk architecture.
The former includes the palaces, the royal Mausoleums, the temples, the Daoist temples, the royal gardens and the Tasha etc.
All the official architectures refer specially to those ancient architectures built at the emperors’ commands, such as the Qinshihuang Mausoleum and the Forbidden City in Ming Dynasty, so the official architectures are very magnificent and gorgeous. The Forbidden City of Beijing has a total floor space of 9,900 bays, and the picturesque towers guarding the four corners of the palace compound each have 9 beams and 18 columns with graved dragons on.
The folk architecture varied from region to region.
1) In the north China, the architecture style is lavish and rectangular, which reflects the straight and bold characteristics of the people there. Most of the buildings in this region are made of bricks and tiles, such as the quadrangle courtyard (Siheyuan), whose roof is plain for there is not much rain all the year round.
2) In the northwest China, the architecture style is simple and unadorned but closed, which reflects the people there are hospitable and thrifty. Most of the buildings in this region are made of sun-dried mud bricks, few tiles. Besides, some people in this region also dwell in the caves dwelling that built by cutting the cliff or digging the earth, for the geologic factors allow them to do so.
3) In the south region of the Yangtze River, he architecture style is small and intensive but magnificent, which reflects the sensitive and gentle characteristics of the people there sensitive. The buildings there are decorated with exquisite carved furniture. The roofs are steep with warped wings and eaves, for it rains a lot in this region.
4) In the southwest China, the architecture style is flexible and independent, which reflects the southwestern people’s confidence and wittiness. This style is also called the stilt-style (Ganlanshi) for the buildings are supported by some wood sticks to keep the house from humidity. The walls of the house are simply made of the straw mats or boards, and the eaves extend far to keep the house from the rain. The residents here consist of the Dai, Zhuang, Yao and Miao minority.
5) In the great prairie region where the Zang nationality dwells together, the architecture style is solid and stately, which reflects the folks’ simple and honesty. The buildings they live in are the rectangle tents and the stone houses. These two architectures are similar in some ways, namely they are both tall and strong in dimension with thick walls and plain roofs.
6) In the Nei Mongol Region, the architecture style is solid but splendid, which reflects the kind-heart and sincerity of the people there. The herdsmen dwell in the circular, domed and portable yurts (named Menggubao). The yurts, in which the rich family live, are 10 meter in diameter with a column inside, and furnished splendidly.