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Lingnan architecture

Lingnan architectureLingnan architecture is concentrated at Xiguan. Built at the end of the Qing Dynasty, Baomo Garden is located at Zini Village near Shawan town of Panyu and is a fine example of classical Lingnan architecture. Once inside, exotic buildings, gardens, hills, lakes and bridges are found - a place that reveals interplay between nature's art and man-made art in forms of sculptures and edifices, which boast intricate clay, porcelain, brick, wood and stone carving. Chen Clan Temple is another representative of Lingnan architecture. The Temple was built in the sixteenth year (1890) of Guangxu Emperor of the Qing Dynasty and served as an academy for Chen families in 72 counties of the Guangdong Province. It comprises all sorts of folk architectural and decorative arts, and is famous for its "Three Carvings" (stone, wood and brick carvings), "Three sculptures" (ceramic sculpture, clay sculpture and colorful sculpture) and "One cast" (cast iron). Therefore, it is called the best of all the clan temples in neighbourhood.

Today, some building elements of Lingnan architecture are adapted in constructions of commercial districts in Guangzhou. In streets like Beijinglu Commercial Street, Zhongshan Wulu Road and Hui Fulu Road, old-fashioned shops of Lingnan architecture are found in heaps. Attached to the second storey from the pavement, numerous pillars were built in front of the stores. Similar building styles are still common in some torn-down areas both in Hong Kong (Tong-lau) and Taipei.

Mainstreams and Achievements of Lingnan-style architecture

In 1949, after establishment of People's Republic of China, Lingnan-style architecture gradually grew up. People named it "Guang style" or "Lingnan style", which mostly represents Lingnan local characters in architecture. With regard to the origin, development, feature and style of Lingnan-style architecture, here are some penetrative comment and summary from Professor Zeng Zhaofen and Professor Ai Dingzeng, famous architecture critics from Tsinghua University. Professor Zeng firstly pointed out new styles of Chinese architecture consisted of Jing style (Beijing), Guang style or Lingnan style (Guangzhou), and he concluded features of Lingnna style to be free and natural, plane arrangement fit for daily life, diverse elevations and outlines designed in a simple and clear way, harmonious and complete amalgamation of garden virescence and city environment.

Since Professor Zeng pointed out his opinions on Lingnna style, architecture field has paid more attention to its development. In 1989, Professor Ai said in his thesis Mysterious Road—40 years of Lingnan Architecture: Geographically speaking, Lingnan style includes the mainstreams of neoteric architecture, which are in Guangzhou (center place), Pearl River Delta, Guilin, Nanning, Shantou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Zhanjiang and Haikou, and it was going to be developed and grown up in the middle of 19th century, as well as its underdeveloped theories. And he also wrote: "the progress of Lingnan architecture and Lingnan music and painting was synchronous, which followed the political revolution movement led by Kang Youwei, Liang Qichao and Sun Yat-sen.

But the neoteric life styles of the local residents, physical geography and social economy conditions were its groundwork of development, which went through the following stages: firstly, foreigners introduced their architecture styles; secondly, overseas Chinese invested in the constructions of buildings in the combinations Chinese and occidental design( a large of garden buildings appeared at that time.); lastly, Chinese and foreign architects consciously united Chinese and occidental styles together( e.g. Sun Yan-sen Memorial Hall in emphasis of national style, former Sun Yat-sen University and Lingnan University, and most of them were built in occidental style.). Late 40 years is an elementary autumn for the amalgamation of Chinese and occidental styles, and for making use of past style in present buildings. Mr. Ai summed up mainstreams and achievement of Lingnan-style architecture from the following 8 aspects:

(1) Changes instead of imitations, modern style instead of ancient. Forerunner of Modern Lingnan architecture, Professor Xiachangshi, from South China University of Technology, designed marine lives exhibition hall of Guangzhou Cultural Park, campus buildings in Yat-sen Medical College and South China University of Technology in modern architecture style, which are good examples for other architects in China. One of his designs, teaching building of medical treatment in Yat-sen Medical College was awarded a prize for his excellent creation by Architecture Academy of China.

(2) In chase of artistic conception. Every kind of Cantonese artistic creation is sedulously in chase of

Lingnan characters, so is architecture design, which embodies Lingnan style in a detailed way. For example, the poem design of Baiyun Mountain Lodge, and a building in White Swan Hotel named "Hometown Water", of which design will arouse homesickness in the hearts of Chinese abroad.

(3) Combination with the surroundings. Lingnan architecture emphasizes choice of location for groundwork, harmonious amalgamation with the surroundings, and inherits elites of Chinese traditional architecture. Baiyun Hotel, and White Swan Hotel are all outstanding architecture in hotel design.

(4) Compact layout, reasonable configuration. In consideration of climate characters in Lingnan, designers have Lingnan architecture possess features of modern landscape, moreover, the porch hall, cortile, leisure porch, dining hall, corridors and bedrooms are adorned with plants and flowers, which endows the surrounding with natural landscapes, and the most representative architecture is cortiles of Dong Fang Hotel, which is a amalgamation of Chinese garden spirit and modern architecture style.

(5) Simple and diverse designs. Lingnan architecture is fit for frames made by concrete and steel, which help enlarge room space and produce a simple and fashion outline, meanwhile, by referring to the design of ancient pavilions, the designer endows this new architecture with diversification and majesty.

(6) Various indoors designs. Indoors designs of Lingnan architecture follow the traditional ways, like ash mold, pottery mold, brick carving, wood carving, miniascape decoration, characteristic furniture, plaque and couplet etc., which largely enrich the indoor scenes.

(7) Revolutionary garden design. Lingnan architecture furthest absorbs Chinese traditional garden design, and transplants it to the city design and construction, which produces larruping features. For instance, Baiyun Mountain, Yuexiu Mountain, Liuhua Lake Park, Orchid Garden, Martyr Cemetery, Luhu Lake Park, Dong Shan Lake Park etc.

(8) Mysterious road to the same destination. Lingnan architecture style claims that new architecture should conform to the traditional in spirit instead of in image, which reflects spirit of inheritance, respect to environment and humanity, and intense desire to catch up with the world fashion.

Representative works from modern Lingnan architecture style are Friendship Theatre, Baiyun Mountain Lodge, White Swan Hotel, Nanyue King Tomb, Panxi Restaurant, Tianhe Sports Center, Baiyun Hotel, Guangzhou Metropolitan Plaza, China Mayors' Building etc. These buildings are respectively awarded prizes of excellent designs by China Urban Construction Department, State Education Commission and a prize of excellent creation by China Architecture Academy.

Today, Modern Lingnan architecture style enjoys the same status as Jing style and Hai style, and Guangzhou top architects and designers achieve great success and gain high reputations both at home and abroad.

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