280.528 Theory of Planning and Space - Traditional Chinese architecture, planning and spatial design
This course is in all assigned curricula part of the STEOP.
This course is in at least 1 assigned curriculum part of the STEOP.

2018W, VO, 2.0h, 4.0EC


  • Semester hours: 2.0
  • Credits: 4.0
  • Type: VO Lecture

Aim of course

This survey course on traditional Chinese architecture and planning will explore the basic concepts of planning and spatial theory (and practice) through insights into Chinese art and architectural hisotry, culture, and society, and will discuss the conception/perception of physical and symbolic space with the goal to better understand the complex phenomena of building in the Middle Kingdom from the pre-Qin period to the 20C. The thematic rather than chronological approach provides a bridge to the present and shows that architecture and urban planning even in the 21st century is still inextricably linked with the fascinating, 4000-year history of China.

The course is specifically tailored to the needs of non-Chinese speakers who wish to study Chinese architecture and planning outside of China.

Subject of course

This semester the course has the following topic:

*Traditional Chinese Architecture and Planning

We will discuss the following topics:

Class 1

Constructed thoughts—Architectural philosophy in ancient China (The Chinese Dream for a century?; historical-cultural values of emperor and subjects; three architectural principles based on Confucian thought: morality, convenience, welfare, and their expression in the built enviornment)

Class 2

Conception of space—Development and creation of (living) space (Buddhist emptiness and Taoist void; harmony of complementary forces / Yin-yang Theory and fengshui spatial relationships; Symbolism of square earth, round heaven; directional space but no vertical alignement?)

Class 3

Organisation of space—Harmony through hierarchy (managing an empire: political history, geography, vegetation; Confucian rites and social order: class and layer theories; modular building as an expression of the hierarchical society; family as the basic social component; X-child policy; National New-type Urbanization Plan 2014–2020)

Class 4

Urban, not rural—Traditional (imperial) city planning and development (a walled enclosure; with a center; aligned with the cardinal directions; with emphasis on the main axis; ‘square-ness’; imperial capital—urban area—countryside; auspicious siting; city planning as example for Sino-cultural adaptation; urban anthropology) in theory and pratice (round cities?)

Class 5

Monument protection—Preservation, renewal, and destruction of cultural and living space (China’s culture of creative copying)

Class 6

Ethnic diversity—Millennia of foreign religions, ethnic minorities, and human mobility (China a cultural melting pot)

Additional information

Die LVA wird von Frau DI Dr Alexandra Harrer (Assistenz-Professor an der Tsinghua Universität, China) abgehalten



Course dates

Tue09:00 - 13:0009.10.2018Seminarraum 280/2 1. Einheit
Thu09:00 - 13:0011.10.2018Seminarraum 280/2 2. Einheit
Tue09:00 - 13:0016.10.2018Seminarraum 280/2 3. Einheit
Thu09:00 - 13:0018.10.2018Seminarraum 280/2 4. Einheit
Tue09:00 - 13:0023.10.2018Seminarraum 280/2 5. Einheit
Thu09:00 - 13:0025.10.2018Seminarraum 280/2 6. Einheit

Examination modalities

Take-Home Exam (distributed in class 6; to be submitted by the end of January).

Course registration

Begin End Deregistration end
24.09.2018 10:00 18.10.2018 23:59 18.10.2018 23:59


The student has to be enrolled for at least one of the studies listed below


Study CodeSemesterPrecon.Info
066 440 Spatial Planning


No lecture notes are available.