9 Ancient Chinese Buildings

9 Ancient Chinese Buildings

As architecture are often perceived as cultural symbols as well as works of art, ancient buildings in that conception has certainly integrated the beauty of old-time wisdom and architectural wonder. To illustrate in a broader sense, traditional building represents the essence of cultures relating to folks that spent their generations around. With rich connotation and long history, ancient Chinese buildings imply the then philosophy of architecture, including their layout, structures, shaping, coloring and implicit hierarchy hidden within.

Today, we share with you all together 9 types of ancient Chinese buildings, enjoy.

I Residential Buildings

Where ancient folks sustain themselves in generations. Moreover, they are mostly restrained to regional context. Climate, customs or economy, all could be the key to comprehend different styles.

Guang’an Ancient Town, Sichuang

Wuyuan County, Jiangxi

Vernacular Dwelling in Shaanxi

Vernacular Dwelling in Yunnan

Vernacular Dwelling in Shanxi

Siheyuan——Beijing Quadrangle Dwelling

Fujian Earth Building

Tibetan Vernacular Dwelling

II Palace-related buildings

Such courtyard-style buildings are where the ancient imperator managed affairs of state and lived.

Gu Gong, the Imperial Palace

The Palace Turret

Mukden Palace

III The Altars

  Ancient Chinese altars are where people gather to worship the ancestors and hold ceremonial activities for the blessing by heaven deities. For long ago they have been showing respect for the nature and its offer here and praying for another year of fine weather and without plagues or disaster. Some altars were constructed in memory of those who have done great contributions to history or country. Come and see altars distributing around the land of China.

The Temple of Heaven: An Imperial Sacrificial Altar in Beijing

The Imperial Vault of Heaven, Beijing

Temple of Agriculture, Beijing

Imperial Ancestral Temple

Temple of Confucius, Qufu

Ancestral shrine

IV Religious Buildings

Ancient people used to hold all kind of religious activities in these places including temple and tower of Buddhism, temple and monastery of Taoism, Mosque of Islam, grotto temple and so forth. They are mostly courtyard-style, with the grotto as the exception. Among them buildings relating to Buddhism and Taoism are most exuberant as they have the most believers, with the Taoism being one that originated in China.

Shaolin Monastery

Foguang Temple

White Cloud Temple

Hanging Temple, Shanxi

Maijishan Grottoes, Gansu

Every religious building in itself has no essential difference in appearance, whether it be Taoism or Buddhism. Only that religious elements, which are uniquely interpreted, are integrated into them and demonstrate connotations inside religious thinking.

V Garden Building

Traditional Chinese garden buildings are categorized into three types, respectively royal garden, private garden and landscape architecture. Ancient people has a special inclination for natural beauty, which’s one of the gist to comprehend ancient poets’ feelings and they enjoy being around nature. So years of developmen has showcased the most fundamental features of traditional Chinese gardens—— harmony between people and nature.

The Summer Palace, Royal

Beihai Park, Royal

Mountain Resort, Chengde

Classical Garden of Suzhou: Humble Administration’s Garden

Classical Garden of Suzhou: The Lingering Garden

Shenshi Garden, Zhejiang

West Lake, Hangzhou

Black Dragon Pool in The National Park in Lijiang, Yunan

Daguan Pavilion in Kunming, Yunnan

Mount Tai, Shandong

VI Tomb Construction

  In the land of China, people has been maintained firm belief in filial piety towards parents and elder generation. This philosophy has been exquisitely practiced among the imperial level as emperors of different dynasties were celebrated with lavish, elaborate burial according to the contributions made in his or her lifespan. Ancient Chinese valued the procedure of managing burial and would summon as many labor as they could to build a tomb at any cost, no matter which hierarchy people were in. Therefore, today we are lucky and honored to have various grand and rare tombs along with the great historical values they displayed, including culture and art.

Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties

West Qing Tombs, Hebei

East Qing Tombs, Hebei

  Tombs found nowadays are mostly complete but the number of those on the ground is dwarfed by those built under. Above shown are three examples of well-preserved tombs that’s exposed to more natural erosion. For more, one can visit the Mausoleum of the Yellow Emperor, the Mausoleum of the Great Yu and the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor etc.

VII Urban Facility

  These kinds of building are constructed to facilitate everyday life or support specific needs. These facilities varies from walls, city gate towers, bell towers, drum-tower to bridges and roads in the city.

Bell Tower of Beijing

Drum Tower of Beijing

Zhengyangmen Gate Tower of Beijing

Bell Tower of Xi’an

For the preserved ancient bridges, one can find out more at Yinding Bridge in Beijing, Wanning bridge at Di’anmen outer street. Also, discover all those famous ancient town here and you shall witness those bridges within reach.

VIII Fundamental Buildings for military defense, transportation, water conservancy

  As quoted in title, these ancient buildings are born out of the needs for military defense, better convenience and facilitation in the use of water. But to think the toils and sweats they shed in creating such grand wonders like the Great Wall, which isn’t finished until 1878 and has then passed from several dynasties in its extension and greater scale. Anyway, these are authentic human wisdom dazzling the eyes.

The Great Wall

Touring the Great Wall of China: Day trip ideas

Shanhai Pass

Baodai Bridge, Suzhou

Zhaozhou Bridge (Anji Bridge)

Penglai Costal Military Base


IX Other

Qinghua Pagoda

Four-Gate Pagoda of Shentong Temple

Four Gates Pagoda - Wikipedia

Memorial Archway

Screen Wall


Beijing Huguang Guild Hall

Ancient Courier Station

Ancient Academy


Directorate of Imperial Academy

Ancient Chinese building, just like others, contains unique cultures and remain as a trace of ancient sense. Although we have stepped into a brand new ear with creative modern designs of architecture that blow people’s mind and overturn our regular assumption, people have to embrace these ancient buildings as they are nevertheless ingenious and cultural symbols that tells the history and development of Chinese architecture.

Here at AIMIR, you can find creative architectural visualization and well-tuned services at your disposal, for more information, contact us or drop us a line.

Architecture Design competition in China: Space Scene International Design


Located in the mid-east region of Henan Province, Kaifeng is the emerging sub-center city of Henan Province, city of core development zone of Central Henan Urban Agglomeration and the core city of Zhengzhou metropolitan area. With a long history and abundant tourism resources, Kaifeng, the ancient capital of eight dynasties, is also the gathering place of intangible cultural heritage. With the planning advantage of integrated development of Zhengzhou and Kaifeng, the tourism economy and tertiary industry in Kaifeng enjoy further development. 

Tourism in Kaifeng mainly features scenic spot sightseeing and simple amusement. Qingming Riverside Landscape Garden and Dragon Pavilion currently boast the highest tourism concentration ratio. The development of tourism commerce in Kaifeng is still in its infancy and tourism commerce still features a dual structure of featured retail, catering and supporting facilities.

Shuanglong Lane

Shuanglong Lane historical and cultural blocks are important projects of Kaifeng Cultural Tourism Investment Group Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “Investment Group”). As the key state-owned enterprise of Kaifeng, Investment Group owns the core cultural and tourism resources of Kaifeng, the ancient city of Song capital and is dedicated to building cultural and life experience area of Song capital with “comprehensive protection, holistic tourism, consistent scenery of the whole city and whole industry chain”. Amber Retreats and AIM International Design Competition, entrusted by Investment Group, pool wisdom to bring more possibilities to Shuanglong Lane with one court at its core.

Competition Challenge

Currently, there are a number of urban improvement projects to repair ancient towns in the name of repairing traditional blocks. However, few of them succeed. This space scene design competition focuses on No. 24 court of Shuanglong Lane and collects various solutions for one court from global designers; starting from one point, the strong cultural IP of Shuanglong Lane is created to lead industrial upgrade and transformation of Shuanglong Lane; it’s an innovative design talents introduction, a collision with new scenes and an intensive and focus spread.

Quadrangle courtyard is the basic unit of the buildings within the core protection area, which restores the courtyard pattern and style of buildings with traditional features. The new quadrangle courtyard is built based on the original courtyard texture, which optimizes the space environment of the block. It combines the traditional architectural elements such as quadrangle courtyard, sloping roofs, grey tiles and blue bricks, lattice doors and windows. The controlled height of buildings in the block is 2 stories, and the cornice height is less than 7 m. The buildings around the quadrangle courtyard, which are not newly-built ones in the quadrangle courtyard, are 3 m away from the boundary. The existing buildings to be preserved shall be reconstructed and consolidated in combination with the design and use functions. The facades, roof forms and colors of such buildings shall be renovated to achieve harmony with the traditional style of the block.

Through competitions with Shuanglong Lane No. 24 court as typical cases, we hope to motivate teams to review the modern application of Song culture from the perspectives of art, drama, design, communication, consumer psychology after getting rid of restriction of traditional blocks renovation based on Song culture of Kaifeng, locality and historical inheritance of Shuanglong Lane. Meanwhile, they are motivated to explore the interaction between innovative types of business and space with techniques such as time-space folding and boundary blur to inspire new behavior mode and consumption scenes.

In the space of No. 24 court, participants can conduct business type designs including but not limited to homestay, catering, bars, cafes, book bars, little theatres, art galleries, museums, intangible cultural heritage workshops, flower shops, cultural and creative stores, integration space and any other types of business believed to show up in the space in light of historic culture and business performance of Kaifeng and Shuanglong Lane.

In the space design, space innovation triggered by collocation, integration and alternation of innovation business types is encouraged. However, feasibility and practicability are required with adequate consideration of cost. The application of new technologies of AI, 5G and VR is encouraged. For constructions, project plot ratio and max headroom requirements must be followed with considerations given to the coordination of the space and business type of the entire Shuanglong Lane and innovative usage of underground space. We hope that Shuanglong Lane No. 24 Court competition can explore a new way for the improvement of ancient blocks in China and lay a brand new standard for the overall renovation of Shuanglong Lane.

Collection categories

  1. Accommodation Homestay
  2. Experienced-cultural and innovative brand stores
  3. Custom handicraft hall parent-child space
  4. Art performance little theatre
  5. Cultural and creative warehouse for used things bookstore-catering
  6. Space-museum


First prize: RMB50000

Second prize: RMB 30000

Third prize: RMB 20000


Works submission requirements

Submitted contents include:
1. 4 Pictures of Design scheme of A1 size (841MM x 594MM) with unlimited horizontal and perpendicular layout and composition. Mapping documents are submitted in JPG format with resolution not lower than 300dpi. Scheme contents include but not limited to:
1) Site plan
2) Architectural plan, elevation, profile
3) Rendering and analysis chart
4) Design philosophy diagram
5) Economic and technical indexes
6) Other image data that can fully express design concepts
2. Works information sheet (information sheet template is provided in download materials)
3. Participants need to submit creation drafts, work photos and other materials during the creation process (image in JPG format with resolution not lower than 150dpi)

Optional submission contents:

1. Business plan about content creativity: the project (homestay or other business types) brand content operation idea PPT involves brand positioning, target population, project population, marketing, development strategy and execution plan of the brand in Shuanglong Lane.
2. Video (2-4 minutes): to better present works concept, short videos can be submitted, including an introduction to team members, description of design concepts of works with display boards. The format is unlimited. Videos can be made in MPEG, MP4, AVI formats.

Review Standard

1. The locality of design: 30 scores (highlight the integration degree of design and resources of Shuanglong Lane in Kaifeng, including digging and utilization of local materials, extraction of local elements, implantation of local culture and activities, etc.)
2. Design integrity: 30 scores (including concept plan, whether design can be integrated with surrounding integrated ambiance, consistency and coherence of the design of Shuanglong Lane)
3. The leading function of design: 20 scores (including innovation of design and influence of future development)
4. Product richness: 20 scores (including business type layout, supporting business types, facilities implantation, local derivative consumption of products, etc.)

For the more following information, please feel free to contact AIMIR. The application of new technologies such as AI, 5G and VR is encouraged. If you need architectural visualization for this competition, warmly welcome you to drop us a line.

Free Quote

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Quote Now