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(Pheng 2001; Pheng 2007)
This group of scholar are pitted against a bigger and more conservative clan which argued that
based on archaeological evidence, it can only be safely claimed that Chinese history is 5000
This is because it is widely accepted that the civilisation of Egypt, Babylon and India are older than
that of China and that Chinese history is the forth oldest in the world.
By virtue of its long history, valuable lessons from the point of view of technology, management
and economics may be found within Chinese civilization. Some of these lessons may be historical
Background: Chinese Ancient Civilization
(Jing & Campbell 2009)
Display 1.0 Previous studies focused on
the antecedents of the Central Plains
Bronze Age, home of the ruling dynasties
of the traditional Chinese historical
narrative and it is only with the caveat of
an ancestral relation that we can speak of
them in terms of 'Chinese‘ civilisation.
Background: The Chinese Dynasties
(Loewe & Shaughnessy 1999)
*BCE: Before Current Era
*CE: Current Era
Background: Environment in Ancient China
(Loewe & Shaughnessy 1999)
Background: Earliest Architect (Pheng 2001)
Display 2.0 portrayed Gongshu
Ban also known as 'Lu Ban' a
Chinese architect who is
responsible for inventions such
as grappling hooks and cloud
ladder during the slave society
dating back from 2100 BC –
Methods: Structural & Auxiliary Materials
Display 3.0 shows some example of materials used to build buildings and structures during the ancient
Chinese civilisation (e.g. Loess; Knails; Bamboo; Bricks; Timber; Tiles; Mud).
Methods: Types of Tool
• Pick Axe
• Adze & Chisel
• Stone Mould
(Xia; Shang, Zhou;
Spring & Fall; Warring
•Eave and Strut
•Plows and Scythes
(Qin up to Qing)
Methods: Records of Building Practice
Display 4.0 exemplifies treaties derived building manuals
derived from Gonghu Gongchen Zuofa Zeli or
"Engineering Manual of the Board of Works" and
Yingzao Fashi or "Treaties on Architectural Methods“. 10
Methods: Types of Building
• Dwelling on piles, a nest known as 'Ganlan'
• Bag-shaped upright cave
• Semi-underground cave
• Wood-earth building and palace
• Wooden building
• Adobe wall
• Wood-skeleton wall
• Rammed-earth wall
(Xia; Shang, Zhou; Spring
& Fall; Warring State)
• Clay brick and wooden governmental building
• Clay brick and wooden Buddhist building like 'Pagoda'
• Stone-structured bridge
• Stone chamber and temple
(Qin up to Qing)
Findings: Traditional Architecture
(Fu Wei 2014)
Confucianism has always been the mainstream of ancient Chinese thought, so Confucianism also
exists in the construction activities and the buildings. The traditional architecture also plays on the
The building is the external reflection of thinking. Chinese traditional architecture in a
specific region and the quite long historical period, as a mature system of the building, is the
inevitable product of corresponding culture.
Display 5.0 These evidence suggest that the ancient people of China stayed in caves during the winter so that they to make a fire
to keep out the cold and dampness. During the summer when the weather is warm they would move to their dwellings on the
piles (e.g. Longmen Caves of Chang’an; The Feng Huang Ancient City).
Display 6.0 Great achievement made in architectural technology. Mark by the introduction by wood-earth
engineering , the emergence of platforms and the use of pottery building materials (e.g. Chigang Pagoda;
Forbidden City; Jing’an Temple) for the making of water pipes as well as roofing and paving tiles.
Findings: Preservation Cont. (Smith 2013)
Display 7.0 The wall was first open to tourist in 1957. The last battle to be fought at the wall was in 1938 during
the Sino-Japanese war. The mortar used to bond the stone was made from rice flour. Further, one million
people died in the construction of the wall.
Findings: The New Agenda
(Meili 2013; Zhang 2011)
Apart from financial and technological assistance, communist China strenuously sought academic aid
from the Soviet Union to modernise its science and education sectors. In 1954, the name of the faculty of
archaeology at Beijing University was changed to kaogu zhuanmenhua to reflect its new level of
specialisation following the Soviet education model, and its earlier four-year programme was
extended to five years.
Beginning in the late nineteenth century, after experiencing tremendous political, economic, social, and
intellectual hardship, the Chinese strongly believed that only with advanced Western science and
technology was their country likely to survive. The May 4th Movement in 1919 was supported by most
Chinese intellectuals because it boosted the infusion of Western science. It marked the decision
and desire of the Chinese government and intellectuals to accept and study Western science. ‘Science’
Findings: In Vogue Architect
Display 8.0 a picture of Ieoh Ming Pei
better known as IM Pei a Chinese-born
American architect who is responsible
for constructions such as J. F. Kennedy
Library of USA and Museum of Islamic
Art of Qatar.
Display 9.0 This famous Bund river-front-area of Shanghai is dotted with historical and architectural
landmarks and was developed at the turn of the 20"" century during a time of foreign investment. It
continues to house consulates, foreign banks, multi-national conglomerates and other major players in
world government and commerce.
Findings: Contemporary Cont.
(Roskam, C 2013)
Display 10.0 Changsha's Sky City--a proposal for the world's tallest building, which was initially intended to
be entirely constructed in only 210 days embody the scale, ambition, and sheer force of the country's
inextricably intertwined economic and physical development.
Major Point of Discussion: Will Chinese Civilisation
and Architecture Extinct?
Chinese was forced to build a modern nation-state to defend itself from these foreign challenges.
The question that many Chinese scholars are now asking is whether it is time for China (which is now
a strong nation-state) to engage in promoting, establishing or constructing Tianxia—not just for
Chinese benefit, but for the benefit of the world.
Tianxa: Chinese cultural concept that denoted either the entire geographical world or the
metaphysical realm of mortals, and later became associated with political sovereignty.
• Traditional architecture is not only the history of civilization, the crystallization ancestor
shard-working, but also the symbol of the wisdom about the Chinese. It is the
traditional thinking form performance.
• Today, in our architectural creation, we need to constantly review the traditional, tracing
back to history, based on understanding of the national traditional culture in order to
"bring forth the new through the old", designed with the
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Callahan, WA 2008, 'Chinese Visions of World Order: Post-hegemonic or a New Hegemony?', International Studies Review, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 749-761.
Fu Wei, T 2014, 'The Mean Thought of Chinese Traditional Architecture', Applied Mechanics & Materials, no. 630-642, pp. 2261-2264.
Jing, Y, & Campbell, R 2009, 'Recent archaeometric research on 'the origins of Chinese civilisation.'', Antiquity, vol. 83, no. 319, pp. 96-109.
Loewe, M, & Shaughnessy, EL 1999, The Cambridge history of ancient China: From the origins of civilization to 221 BC. Cambridge University Press.
Meili, Y 2013, 'Modern Western Science in Initial Chinese Archaeological Development', International Journal of Science in Society, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 23-31.
Pheng, LS 2001, 'Construction of dwellings and structures in ancient China', Structural Survey, vol. 19 no. 5, pp.262 – 274.
Roskam, C 2013, 'Structures of everyday life', Artforum International Magazine, vol. 53 , no. 3, p. 253.
Smith, N 2013, 'Blueprint Great Wall of China: Classic Project', Engineering & Technology, vol. 7, no. 12, pp. 102-103.
Xu, X 2013, 'A Gem in the History of Chinese Architecture: Bund 12', Journal of Property Management, vol. 78, no. 3, pp. 44-45.
YouTube 2015, China Architecture. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0YUDzFxfA8 [Accessed 10 Sep. 2015].
Zhang, L 2011, 'Soviet inspiration in Chinese archaeology', Antiquity, vol. 85, no. 329, pp. 1049-1059.