Undergraduate Seminar: Space, Time, and Chinese Architecture
This seminar offers a set of introductions to basic aspects and elements of built environments in China. It is not a chronological survey. Each of the thematic sections incorporates a variety of perspectives, theoretical and technical, aesthetic and historical. Our topics will include construction techniques, building material and the notion of change in religious architecture, pilgrimage and sacred geography, landscape design, architecture and power, architecture in cinema, Chinatowns, and others.
Pre-modern Chinese architecture has often shown itself to be ill at ease with the larger field of architectural history. A trabeated system in timber, the overhanging tiled eave that it holds up, and a box-like interior that it encloses, constitute a building tradition that seems to resist change. Despite early contacts with Europe, architecture in China also remained impervious to outside influence until relatively recent times. In addition to serving as an introduction to the subject, therefore, the theoretical interest of this seminar will be to explore ways in which “Chinese architecture” may be brought into broader conversations that are taking place within architectural studies at large.
This course fulfills the following Major requirements: Geographical area (B) and Chronological period (I), (II) or (III), based on the topic of the final research paper or project.