Chinese architecture is a style of architecture that has taken shape in East Asia over many centuries. The structural principles of Chinese architecture have remained unchanged, the main changes being only the decorative details. Since the Tang Dynasty, Chinese architecture has had a influence on the architectural styles of Korea, Vietnam. The architecture of China is as old as Chinese civilization, throughout the 20th Century, Western-trained Chinese architects have attempted to combine traditional Chinese designs into modern architecture, with only limited success. A very important feature in Chinese architecture is its emphasis on articulation and bilateral symmetry, bilateral symmetry and the articulation of buildings are found everywhere in Chinese architecture, from palace complexes to humble farmhouses. When possible, plans for renovation and extension of a house will often try to maintain this symmetry provided that there is enough capital to do so, secondary elements are positioned either side of main structures as two wings to maintain overall bilateral symmetry. The buildings are planned to contain an even number of columns in a structure to produce an odd number of bays. With the inclusion of a door to a building in the center bay. In contrast to the buildings, Chinese gardens are an exception which tend to be asymmetrical. The principle underlying the composition is to create enduring flow. In much of traditional Chinese architecture, buildings or building complexes take up an entire property and these enclosed spaces come in two forms, the, Courtyard, The use of open courtyards is a common feature in many types of Chinese architectures. This is best exemplified in the Siheyuan, which has consisted of an empty space surrounded by buildings connected with one another either directly or through verandas. This structure is essentially an enclosed courtyard formed from the intersections of closely spaced buildings. These enclosures serve in temperature regulation and in venting the building complexes, northern courtyards are typically open and facing the south to allow the maximum exposure of the building windows and walls to the sun while keeping the cold northern winds out. Southern sky wells are relatively small and serves to collect water from the roof tops. They perform the duties as the Roman impluvium while restricting the amount of sunlight that enters the building. Sky wells also serve as vents for rising hot air, which cool air from the lower stories of the house. The projected hierarchy and importance and uses of buildings in traditional Chinese architecture are based on the placement of buildings in a property/complex
Model of a Chinese Siheyuan in Beijing, which shows off the symmetry, enclosed heavy platform and a large roof that floats over this base, with the vertical walls not as well emphasized.
Models of watchtowers and other buildings made during the Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25–220); while these models were made of ceramics, the real versions were made of easily perishable wood and have not survived.