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Ancient building knowledge

Types and application of Chinese classical garden architecture

AddDate:2015/3/14

When designing Chinese classic garden, people have adopted various construction with a strong ethnic style, making architectures and natural environment bring out the best in each other. Therefore, there are numerous types, mainly including pavilion, corridor, water garden,   bridge, wall, boat-shape construction on the water, pergola, and other facilities.


1. Garden pavilion. It is used for tourists to rest and view scenery. Open to the around, it is relatively small and concentrated and usually integrated with mountain, water and green plants. People make it as a method to decorate the garden scenery. Though its volume is not big, it has various forms, which depend on the plane-form, flat combination and roof shape. With diverse roofs, light building body and casual layout, it can perfectly meet the demand for viewing and decorating the scenery. Monomer pavilions have a variety of shapes such as square pavilion, round pavilion, multi-corner pavilion, etc. Besides, People also create double eaves, triple eaves, pavilion roof, hipped-gable roof and combination pavilion when making pavilion combine with other pavilions, corridors, walls and roofs. Pavilions are usually constructed at the main view points and scenic spots, or exist to foil the main architecture. In small private gardens, the pavilion will usually be the main body when setting up landscape and the center of garden art layout. At some famous scenic spots, it then becomes the important embellishment to add an elegant sense of natural scenery. In the process of designing, people always adopt the methods of “opposite scenery”, “enframed scenery” and “borrowed scenery” to create beautiful scenery.


2. Garden corridor. People call the aisle under the eave and its extended passage with top as corridor. As a part of the garden touring route, it’s usually constructed as the connection channel among other constructions. When people rest in it, it can also be the shelter from sun and rain. Besides, in addition to the function of communication link, it will play the role to organize the landscape, separate space, and add scenery layer. There are diverse forms and designing methods of the corridor. According to the structure form, we can list five, namely, two-sided empty corridor, single-sided empty corridor, double corridor, two-layer corridor and single column corridor. On the basis of its shape and environment, there’s straight corridor, winding corridor, Chaoshou corridor, mountain climbing gallery, overlaying corridor, water corridor and bridge corridor, etc.


3. Waterside pavilion. It is a kind of garden construction at waterside for people to get rest and view scenery. Its typical form is to set up a platform at waterside. One part of the platform is placed at the bank and the other part is stretched into the water. The water crossing part depends on pillar and column to erect on the water surface, while the part at waterside is surrounded by low railings or arm-chairs for people to rest. There’s usually rectangular unit construction near the platform part at the water bank. The side which faces water is the main direction to view scenery with landing doors and windows to decorate it. In such an open environment, people can both appreciate the scenery inside the door, and have a rest or view on the platform. Its roof is generally the elegant hipped-gable roof type.


4. Garden bridge. The bridge in the garden can connect waterway transportation, organize touring route, change viewing sight, decorating waterscape and adding water layer, having the dual function of transportation and art appreciation. Generally, the value of garden bridge in the art of gardening can always surpass traffic function. In natural landscape garden, the layout of bridge has a close relation with garden’s overall arrangement, road system, water area, separation or aggregation of water surface. Its place and body shape shall be harmonious with the landscape. The bridge on large water surface ought to be magnificent, while on small, should be light and graceful. When the water is broad and vast, then it’ll be better to construct high bridge with railings. If water is narrow, the bridge shall be low and it is ok without railing. If the altitude difference is small between water and land, it is suitable to build flat bridge not much higher than the water surface, providing people with a genial feeling that it seems to walk on the limpid and clear water. Besides, we need to consider another factor: reflection of the bridge profile. When constructing the bridge on flat terrain, there should be ups and downs of its outline so as to increase the change of landscape. Garden bridge’s basic forms include flat bridge, arched bridge, pavilion bridge, gallery bridge, stepping stone on water surface, etc.


5. Garden wall. It plays an important role to divide interior and exterior area, separate internal spaces and keep out low-grade scenery. Exquisite garden wall can also decorate the garden view. In Chinese classic garden, according to material and structure, there’s cob wall, snecked masonry, whiting wall, etc. It is a good way to use whiting wall, commonly used to separate the courtyard with grey tile on the wall top, to foil mountain, stone, flower and tree, which just like painting natural scenery on a whiter paper. Settings of the garden wall are generally linked with the terrain. We build flat wall on flat landform, and wall with ladder shape on sloping fields or mountainous region. In order to avoid monotony, some walls are even built into wavy cloud wall. Besides, in Chinese classic garden, there are also such elements as cave door, cave window, leaking window, brick and tile to decorate it.


6. Boat-shape construction on the water. People build it on the water according to the boat shape for amusement and appreciating waterscape. It is the architecture image simulated and extracted by Chinese people from the real life. When staying in it, you will feel like boating on the water. Three sides of its front section face water and it is connected to the shore by a flat bridge. Its basic form is similar with a true boat, dividing into three parts, namely, ship’s bow, middle deck and stern room. The ship’s bow is made into an open shack in order to provide people with an extensive view when they sit in it. The middle deck is the lowest, mainly used for rest and amusement. There are long windows at the two sides of the boat to offer tourists broad view. The stern room is the highest with two layers. The under layer is solid while the upper one is empty in the shape of a pavilion with four unclosed windows for people to look far into the distant. The cabin roof is made into the mat roofing of a boat with light hipped-gable roof style, being the important sight in the garden.


7. Other garden facilities. They are small construction facilities used for rest, decoration, lighting, demonstration, garden management and providing convenience for tourists. Generally speaking, they have small volume and elegant shape without internal space. When beautifying the environment, enriching garden amusement and providing tourists with convenience in the aspect of culture, rest and public activities, they can also enable people to acquire wonderful felling and favorable benefits as well as wisdom.


In short, the ancient garden architecture, with its unique art conception, exquisite engineering technique and philosophical aesthetic thought, has perfectly displayed itself before the whole world. Its rich outward manifestation has indeed influenced the entire aesthetics of the garden. The key point to inherit and develop the ancient garden style is to make great effort to make the garden scenery be harmonious with the whole environment. We shall do our best to make the garden landscape develop appropriately according to the terrain and shape to create various elegant garden scenery, thus reaching the art state of “though it belongs to artifact, it is full of natural delights” and laying the foundation to create better art environment.