Example research essay topic: Linking Themes In Chinese Architecture – 471 words

The basic feature of Chinese architecture is
rectangular-shaped units of space joined together
into a whole. Temples in ancient Greece also
employed rectangular spaces, but the overall
effect tended to austerity. The Chinese style, by
contrast, combines rectangular shapes varying in
size and position according to importance into an
organic whole, with each level and component
clearly distinguished. As a result, traditional
Chinese style buildings have an imposing yet
dynamic and intriguing exterior. The combination
of units of space in traditional Chinese
architecture abides by the principles of balance
and symmetry. The main structure is the axis, and
the secondary structures are positioned as two
wings on either side to form the main rooms and
yard.

Residences, official buildings, temples, and
palaces all follow these same basic principles.
The distribution of interior space reflects
Chinese social and ethical values. In traditional
residential buildings, for example, members of a
family are assigned living quarters based on the
family hierarchy. The master of the house occupies
the main room, the elder members of the master’s
family live in the compound in back, and the
younger members of the family live in the wings to
the left and right; those with seniority on the
left, and the others on the right. Another
characteristic of Chinese architecture is its use
of a wooden structural frame with pillars and
beams, and earthen walls surrounding the building
on three sides. The main door and windows are in
front. Chinese have used wood as a main
construction material for thousands of years; wood
to the Chinese represents life, and “life” is the
main thing Chinese culture in its various forms
endeavors to communicate.

This feature has been
preserved up to the present. Traditional
rectangular Chinese buildings are divided into
several rooms, based on the structure of the
wooden beams and pillars. In order to top the
structure with a deep and over hanging roof, the
Chinese invented their own particular type of
support brackets, called tou-kung, which rise up
level by level from each pillar. These brackets
both support the structure and are also a
distinctive and attractive ornamentation. This
architectural style was later adopted by such
countries as Korea and Japan. Some special
architectural features resulted from the use of
wood.

The first is that the depth and breadth of
interior space is determined by the wooden
structural frame. The second is the development of
the technique of applying color lacquers to the
structure to preserve the wood. These lacquers
were made in brilliant, bold colors, and became
one of the key identifying features of traditional
Chinese architecture. Third is the technique of
building a structure on a platform, to prevent
damage from moisture. The height of the platform
corresponds to the importance of the building. A
high platform adds strength, sophistication, and
stateliness to large buildings..

Research essay sample on Linking Themes In Chinese Architecture