This handbook, representing the collaboration of 40 scholars, provides a multi-faceted exploration of roughly 6,000 years of Chinese architecture, from ancient times to the present.

This volume combines a broad-spectrum approach with a thematic framework for investigating Chinese architecture, integrating previously fragmented topics and combining the scholarship of all major periods of Chinese history. By organizing its approach into five parts, this handbook:

  • Traces the practices and traditions of ancient China from imperial authority to folk culture
  • Unveils a rich picture of early modern and republican China, revealing that modernization was already beginning to emerge
  • Describes the social, intellectual, ideological, and formal enterprises of socialist architecture
  • Frames a window on a complex and changing contemporary China by focusing on autonomy, state practices, and geopolitics of design, ultimately identifying its still evolving position on the world stage
  • Examines the existing cultural and political theories to highlight potential avenues for future transformations in Chinese architecture that also retain Chinese identity

Providing a pioneering combination of ancient and modern Chinese architecture in one coherent study, this book is a must-read for scholars, students, and educators of Chinese architecture, architectural history and theory, and the architecture of Asia.

part |20 pages


chapter 1|18 pages

Reassembling for a Chinese Architecture

Notes for a New Departure

part I|210 pages

Ancient and Dynastic Tradition

part |78 pages

State Governance Over Building and City Planning

chapter 4|17 pages

Imperial Cities

Critical Changes in Urban Paradigm from Sui-Tang to Song

chapter 5|14 pages

Yingzao Fashi

The Book and Methodical Issues for Studying It

part |74 pages

Literati Culture and Social Production

chapter 6|19 pages

Literati Gardens of the Jiangnan Region

Characters and Mutations

chapter 7|22 pages

Cang Lang Pavilion of Suzhou

Sentiment, Scenery, Aura, and Meaning

chapter 8|16 pages

Landscape Urbanism

Urban–Rural Relations in Hangzhou of Southern Song China

chapter 9|16 pages

Confucian Authority

Analysis of School-Temples at Imperial Academy of Beijing

part |56 pages

Folk Culture and Vernacular Practice

chapter 12|14 pages

Carpentry In Vernacular Building Practice

The Master's Way

chapter 13|17 pages

Vernacular Architecture

Themes and Variations Over a Large Country

part II|99 pages

Republican and Early Modern Transformation

part |29 pages

The Arrival of “Architecture”: Profession, Knowledge, and Education

chapter 14|16 pages

Emergence of “Architecture”

In the Reform Years of Late Qing Dynasty

chapter 15|11 pages

The Architect as a Profession in Republican China

Rising Under the State

part |37 pages

Modern Building Practice: Style and Technology

chapter 17|12 pages

Chinese Classical Revival

Nanjing, Capital of Republican China (1910s–40s)

part |29 pages

Modern City Construction and Spatial Formation

chapter 18|14 pages

From Hankou Town to Greater Wuhan

Urban Spatial Organizations in Early Modern China

chapter 19|14 pages

Modern Edutainment Space

Public Parks in Early Twentieth-Century China

part III|155 pages

Socialist–Maoist Modernization

part |34 pages

Spatial Construction and City Planning Under Socialist Ideology

part |53 pages

Practice, Education, and Knowledge Production

chapter 23|10 pages

Architectural Education in China (1950s–1980s)

Constructing and Deconstructing

chapter 24|16 pages

Theories of Spatial Composition

Design Knowledge in China up to the 1980s

chapter 25|16 pages

Liang and Liu

Strategies for Writing an Architectural History in the 1950s

part |65 pages

Architecture in Socialist China: Nationalism and Modernism

chapter 26|16 pages

National Style

Thinking and Building for a New Republic in Beijing (1949–1959)

chapter 28|18 pages

For a Modernism

Huang and Feng at Shanghai's Tongji Architectural Programme

chapter 29|16 pages

Building Canton Fair

Towards a Regional Modernism in Southern China (1950s–1980s)

part IV|150 pages

Contemporary Histories

part |46 pages

Architects and the Issue of Autonomy

chapter 30|17 pages

Critical Pragmatism

Architects as Reflexive Individuals in Contemporary China

chapter 31|27 pages

Architects as Authoring Individuals

Y. H. Chang, Liu Jiakun, and Wang Shu

part |31 pages

State Design Institutes in the Reform Era

chapter 32|15 pages

From Mao to Market

Evolution of the State Design Institutes in China

chapter 33|15 pages

The Chinese Design Institute

A Critique of “Critical Thinking”

part |30 pages

CBDs: Global Spectacles

chapter 34|15 pages

Objects in Territories Along Avenues

Spatial Planning in Beijing and Shanghai

chapter 35|14 pages

Iconic Architecture in China (2000s)

Historical Reading versus Marxist Critique

part |12 pages

Urban-Rural Reintegration

part |28 pages

Geopolitical Differentiations

chapter 37|13 pages

“Chinese Cultural Renaissance” and a Chinese Neoclassicism

Taiwan (1960s–80s)

chapter 38|14 pages

Architects as Reflexive Individuals

Taiwan and Hong Kong Since the 1950s

part V|99 pages


part |62 pages

Culture and Epistemology

chapter 40|15 pages

Deriving Architectural Theory From Chinese Philosophy

Thinking With Xunzi

chapter 41|11 pages


Writing, Memory, and Cities in Chinese Culture

chapter 42|10 pages

Signs of Empire

Scale and Statehood in Chinese Culture

part |22 pages

Political Ethics

chapter 43|11 pages

The State Function of Architecture

chapter 44|10 pages

Political Space and Moral Statehood

part |13 pages


chapter 45|5 pages

Studies on Architecture of Ancient China

As in Part I

chapter 46|7 pages

Perspectives on Architecture of (Modern) China

As in Parts II–V and Part I