The concept of architecture in the Chinese aesthetic context

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The concept of architecture in the Chinese aesthetic context

Western aesthetics is based on the mathematical analysis of the formal structure of an object, using the classical laws of beauty such as balance, symmetry and the golden mean. Eastern aesthetics differ in this, as they emphasize intuitive experience, like “white space” in traditional Chinese painting, through emotional communication with “imagery” to produce a certain “design “. The contrast between reality and emptiness allows the viewer’s imagination and feelings to flourish, allowing them to realize “showing the expanse of heaven and earth even within a square inch”.

Indoor pool.  Image © Haiting SunCourt and terrace.  Image © Hao ChenQintai Art Museum.  Photo © Fangfang TianThe Haikou Cloudscape.  Image © Arch-Exist+ 17

Beauty-Care Unit

In Confucius Talks, “The Master said of Shao that he was perfectly beautiful and also perfectly good. He said of Wu that he was perfectly beautiful but not perfectly good. “The unity of beauty and good”, that is to say the unity of form and content, is at the heart of Confucius’ aesthetic thought. It can be translated in architectural aesthetics as the unity of form and function. Form doesn’t have to completely follow function, and function doesn’t have to completely give way to form, but the two must be in balance to achieve mutual success and harmony.

Jiangsu Garden Expo Treasure Pavilion / AZL Architects

Folded facade.  Image © Bowen Hou
Folded facade. Image © Bowen Hou

The project is located in Tangshan-Fangshan Geopark. The concept of “folding” was inspired by the cultural lineage, and the path of visiting and wandering was planned in the limited space. The “Folding” idea creates a rich roof/floor form while the building itself becomes a piece of the fragment on the ground. The “folding” amplifies the experience of visiting the exhibition in the limited space, removes the limitations of the “floor” and forms continuous spatial sequences in the building. The application of the “Folding” concept connects the spaces into a whole, with a simple exterior form and a rich spatial content.

Connection between roof and underground space.  Image © Bowen Hou
Connection between roof and underground space. Image © Bowen Hou

Tianjin University New Campus Gymnasium / Li Xinggang Workshop

Indoor pool.  Image © Haiting Sun
Indoor pool. Image © Haiting Sun

Depending on the respective requirements regarding plan dimension, clear height and use (dedicated or multipurpose), the multiple covered sports grounds are compactly organized and connected by the linear public spaces (the public hall, the arched bridge and the pool hall). The roof and exterior walls of the sports space utilize a series of reinforced concrete structures of ruled curved surfaces, barrel arches and tapered surfaces that provide long-span space and high natural lighting from the side windows. The tectonic texture of wooden molded concrete is exposed inside, and the architectural outline of silence and diversity is formed outside, realizing the perfect unity of structure, space and shape of the building.

Birdview roof.  Image.  Image © Haiting Sun
Birdview roof. Image. Image © Haiting Sun

happy medium

Confucius proposed the “golden mean” as the highest value principle of traditional Chinese thought. He said, “This Balance is the great root from which spring all human acts in the world, and this Harmony is the universal path which they must all follow.” In art and aesthetics, the milieu means that various opposing and contradictory individuals should be effectively and harmoniously united and that one part should not be unilaterally emphasized to the detriment of the other parts.

Changjiang Museum of Art / Vector Architects

Court and terrace.  Image © Hao Chen
Court and terrace. Image © Hao Chen

The Museum is located at the southern end of a newly built residential community, adjacent to the urban fabric. The main staircase on the southwest side of the gallery begins at City Street and ascends to the second-floor outdoor terrace, which is connected to the community via a connecting bridge on the north side. This exterior crossing circulation is public and independent of the route in the museum. Both welcome the use of general visitors and local residents. The art gallery’s treatment of light also creates a contemplative space in the city. Through flow and space, the building balances community and city, city and individual.

View of the street from the northwest.  Image © Hao Chen
View of the street from the northwest. Image © Hao Chen

Miniature Series II: Ruined Library / ATELIER XI

Library in ruins.  Photo © Chao Zhang
Library in ruins. Photo © Chao Zhang

The architects divided the cultural structures built in the countryside into a series of miniature vignettes. These cast-in-place concrete miniatures are interpreted in a series of tree-like spaces with tentacles reaching skyward, bathed in light and shadow. In one of these series, the library is located in the remains of an adobe house in the village. The curvature of the section that jumps over the old walls connects the first floor entrance, the terrace and the roof. The interior space functions not only as a tiered library but also as a small screening room. It creates a natural articulation between the old and the new building.

Library in ruins.  Photo © Chao Zhang
Library in ruins. Photo © Chao Zhang

Nature and Humanity

“Nature and Humanity” emphasizes the aesthetics of “natural beauty” and “The works of men must correspond to the works of Heaven”. It is respect for nature and the integration of architecture with heaven and earth in architectural aesthetics. It is an egocentric spatial consciousness that has an intimate relationship with nature and merges with the spirit of heaven and earth.

Qintai Art Museum / Atelier Deshaus

Qintai Art Museum.  Photo © Fangfang Tian
Qintai Art Museum. Photo © Fangfang Tian

Qintai Art Museum is located by Moon Lake in Hanyang District of Wuhan, facing Meizi Hill across the lake to the south. In order to reduce the weight of the architectural mass on the natural surface of the lake, the shape of a natural undulating terrain is used in the direction of the lake, while driving part of the exhibition spaces underground. This both utilizes underground space and also minimizes ground mass. These rooftop pathways connect indoor and outdoor spaces. Thus, they form a framework of public space independent of the exhibition spaces of the museum. The activities of the public are part of the architectural surface.

Qintai Art Museum.  Photo © Fangfang Tian
Qintai Art Museum. Photo © Fangfang Tian

Sound Chapel / OPEN Architecture

Sound Chapel.  Photo © Tantan Lei
Sound Chapel. Photo © Tantan Lei

La Chapelle du Son nestled in a mountainous valley looks like a mysterious rock that has gently fallen into place. The shape of the built structure is a direct response to the site: an inverted conical structure, tall at the top and small at the bottom, follows the shape of the valley and drops gently to the valley floor with minimal bulk, minimizing the impact on the surrounding environment. The concert hall is transformed into a sanctuary, establishing a strong link between man and nature.

Sound Chapel.  Image © Runzi Zhu
Sound Chapel. Image © Runzi Zhu

The beauty of pleasure

I Ching the interpretation said, “The ‘picture’ is in the flourishing of the ‘design’, and if you get the ‘design’, you can’t stick to the ‘picture’. In Chinese aesthetics, mood is more important than form, and the beauty of pleasure is greater than the beauty of form. People can transcend the limited elephant by creating a spatial atmosphere and gain a philosophical feeling and understanding of all life, history and the universe in a specific scene.

The Haikou Cloudscape / MAD Architects

The Haikou Cloudscape.  Image © Arch-Exist
The Haikou Cloudscape. Image © Arch-Exist

The Cloudscape tour experience is similar. The architecture allows people to approach the building away from our familiar urban reality and begin a new journey transcending time and space. The building, quietly located between land and sea, is very sculptural. The free and organic forms of the pavilion also allow the creation of unique interior spaces, where walls, floors and ceilings merge in unpredictable ways, and the boundaries between interior and exterior are blurred. The complexity of the cave-like form deconstructs the space layer by layer, offering the reader a field of weightlessness to inhabit through their imagination.

The Haikou Cloudscape.  Image © Arch-Exist
The Haikou Cloudscape. Image © Arch-Exist

Jingdezhen Imperial Furnace Museum / Studio Zhu-Pei

View to open vaults.  Image © Schran Image
View to open vaults. Image © Schran Image

The brickyard is not only the origin of the city but also the living and interaction space on which people rely. It “preserves the temperature of the memory which is inextricably linked to the life of the city”. Many gray spaces exist between the museum buildings and nature, which intertwine, connoting the real and the imaginary, inside and outside. The spatial experience of visitors passing through the museum reflects the unique oriental aesthetic of traditional Chinese architecture “hide, rest, cultivate and travel”.

View of the open tea and coffee safe at the main entrance.  Image © Schran Image
View of the open tea and coffee safe at the main entrance. Image © Schran Image

This article is part of ArchDaily Topics: Aesthetics, proudly brought to you by Vitrocsa the original minimalist windows since 1992. Vitrocsa’s goal is to merge indoors and outdoors creatively.

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