LF 02- 27 - 2010

China. Ten days in this country I know more about Chinese culture and architecture than I could have ever learned through books in a classroom. Throughout Shanghai, Xian, Beijing a reoccurring theme has been Feng Shui. For a Building to have good Feng Shui it must have water in the front and a mountain in the back. In the Forbidden city the moat around it is its water and the man made mountain behind the complex is the mountain which is home for the dragon. The dragon in Chinese culture is an important character which represents power and the emperor. Design in China is a series of layering that takes components of Feng Shui and local beliefs to create a space that feels just right and unique. In the History museum in Xi'an I observed the layering created in an entrance to a meeting hall and how the curvature of the roof line of the main building met the curvature of the roof to the zig zag path before it (Diagram to the right). This layering occurred where secondary entrances occurred. This not only happens in architectural works but also in gardens. Transitioning from room to room in the Suzhou Garden was usually through a series of doors which shifted slightly in material choice. While walking through the three cities I have been noticing a layering theme in the fashion choices of the locals and in store fronts. Clothing is layered to create a unique, one of a kind piece of clothing. While walking down a commercial center in Shanghai I observed four girls wearing the same skirt. At first glance the skirts appeared to be different but when I took a second look I observed that each girl was wearing two skirts and had arranged them in a way in which it appeared to be one solid piece. In a way the architecture and fashion in China are the same. Even though places and spaces use similar techniques to create an effect, design they are all different because the people who alter them to fit their needs.

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