Architecture Around the World
Unless you're an architect, you probably don't think much about architecture. This is likely because if you live in Canada and the United States, especially the suburbs of Canada and the United States, does not expose you to a lot of different architectural styles. Nearly all homes are done in the same modern style which is commonly known as a mansion. However, once you start traveling to Central Asia and beyond, you'll see many different styles. This article will introduce you to a few of them.
Differences in architectural style arise not just because of the personal preferences of the people who are ordering the house plans, but also because of the climate. In tropical Asian countries like Bali, Thailand, and Vietnam, houses are built low to the ground and open for better ventilation. Dark natural woods and bamboos found locally are used in the construction, and sometimes thatch is used for the roof, which has a shallow slope. Hand carvings are used for adornments, interiors are very open, and bathrooms are generally located in a separate outbuilding to reduce humidity and smell.
Chinese architecture as well focuses more on width than height, and places a particular emphasis on symmetry. Wood and stone are typically used in construction, with screens or curtains instead of walls dividing the interior spaces. While your current real estate has its yard in front and behind, Chinese architecture encloses the yard within the building. Roofs are low-pitched, tiled, and often stacked if the structure is more than a single story. These structures are known as pagodas and are often decorated with stone statues of lions, dragons, or religious symbols. Chances are you will not see pagodas and such on real estate listings found here in Toronto.
There are several different architectural styles within the Japanese umbrella, but the Shinto style is what we Westerners commonly associate with the area. With their upturned roof edges, stacked stories, and elaborate wooden structures, Japanese buildings are designed to incorporate natural forms, unlike some houses, which just sit on the land. Inside, Japanese homes are very open, with paper screens dividing different areas and outside, well tended gardens, such as a rock garden, Zen garden, bonsai trees, and cherry trees, are very popular.
Example of Zen garden
There are many nomadic tribes in Central Asia who do not stay in one place long enough to build permanent structures. They have therefore developed their own style of architecture that allows them to disassemble and reassemble their homes as they move with their grazing livestock. The most common type, called the yurt, is a round home made of wood and thatch with a peaked roof and a central wood burning stove. Sheep pelts and heavy fabrics are used to turn away the wind and rain. Learn more about the Nomadic way of life.