Morgan Library presents talk about traditional Chinese architecture presented by CSU professor

Cory Bertelsen

You probably knew that some ancient Chinese architecture was built for protection, like the Great Wall of China. Did you know that some Chinese Architectural designs helped protect new groups of foreigners in certain regions that were subjected to violent attacks or that the Chinese garden expresses the relationship between humans and the surrounding natural environment?

You have probably seen some aspects of Chinese architecture, yet there are many different forms and functions to these designs.


“I did not know that there were so many different types of Chinese architecture,” said a student from the Global Village Academies in Fort Collins. “We have learned some Chinese so far, but today we are on a field trip.”

The Chinese Design and Architecture event took place at the Morgan Library, thanks to the Confucius Institute at Colorado State University as well as the professors at Hunan University in Changsha, China. The lecture was presented by Professor Su Liu and his colleagues on China’s traditional architectural arts, focusing on layout, structure, ornamentation and regional features.

Every slide that was presented by Su. Slides consisted of large scaled images that detailed the varying Chinese architectural designs. These pictures were accompanied by hànzì, as well as the English translation.

Professors and students studying Chinese were in attendance. During the presentation, the audience learned how China’s environment has impacted architecture.

“China is such a big country like America, and the climate changes rapidly, so different kinds of architectural forms were created to adapt to the changing environment,” said the translator for the event Yuwei Li.

In regions of high altitudes, structures would use thicker building materials. In grassland areas, designs would have the ability to set up and take down to adjust to the lifestyle of the people using it.

According to Su, traditional Chinese architecture has influenced modern Chinese architecture.

“Right now there is not so much of a connection,” Su said. “Now Chinese architects are seeking certain aspects of traditional design and incorporate it with modern architecture design.”

Although China’s traditional way of life has remained, this has encouraged certain modern design aspects such as courtyards, which are used for social gatherings.

“This is our main research area, and we were invited by the Confucius Institute to share our views on china’s culture because Chinese traditional architecture is a part of it,” Yuwei said.