How many U.S. architecture professors know that there is a Chinese treatise equivalent to Vitruvius’ Ten Books of Architecture? Very few, I suspect. I taught architectural history for more than 20 years before I discovered the marvelous Yingsao Fashi, a Song Dynasty book by a prominent court official who, as far as we know, was not an architect or builder. In fact, prior to the Ming Dynasty no prominent temple, palace, or shrine in China was designed by an architect because the concept of a single mastermind in charge of a building project was foreign to the East Asian way of designing environments of any kind.
LocationEast gate of Royal Kiln Factory, Junction of Shengli Road and Zhonghua North Road, Zhushan District, Jingdezhen, Jiangxi, China
PhotographsStudio Zhu-Pei, Schran Image, Fangfang Tian
An emerging design trend is filling the gap between furniture and architecture by shaping space through objects at the intersection of the two, creating a dynamic and highly adaptable environment. Either a consequence of the increased demand for flexibility in small spaces or the architectural expression of a device-oriented society, elements in between architecture and furniture open the door towards an increased versatility of space. Neither architecture nor furniture (or perhaps both), these objects operate at the convergence of the two scales of human interaction, carving a new design approach for interior living spaces.
Chinese courtyard houses are one of the most common housing typologies spanning all the way from the northern capital of Beijing to the poetic southern cities Hangzhou and back to the picturesque regions of Yunnan. Typically referred as heyuan, these courtyards homes are simply a “yard enclosed on four sides."