Several Chinese architecture element, including those that date to the Tang Dynasty of the 900s, continue to influence the skylines of cities scattered across Asia-and beyond. Many of these elements are increasingly popular in Pakistan, especially in the north, as they find their way in commercial and residential buildings.
Central living rooms
In China, family lounges (living rooms in our part of the world), are usually situated in the center of a house. This trend is gaining traction in Pakistan as an increasing number of house now have a living room in the centre, while the remaining spaces, such as bedtrooms, kitchens, studies and dining rooms, surround it.
These incorporates several elements, such as water and rocks (which stand for yin and yang), and greenery in the form of ponds, fountains, bridges, gravelled walkways and shaded nooks; the choices of plants can range from lush green leafy plants to thorny, spiky ones.
Chinese gardens are believed to be sanctuaries one can escape to in order take a break from the rigours of life, and epitomize Taoism-the Chinese philosophy that place emphasis on “living in harmony with Tao [nature].”
Chinese pavilions (called ting in Mandarin) bear a resemblance to Mughal gazebos and pavilions. This feature, though largely found in public place and parks, is now also seen in homes and offices in Pakistan; they are often used as entertainment areas and sunrooms.
Courtyards (called siheyuan in Mandarin and sehen in Urdu) have been popular architectural elements in Pakistani homes for decades. They can be used to serve a variety of functions ranging from gardens, space for a fountain or entertaining, or one that link several rooms within a building. Similarly, sky wells, distinctly Chinese architectural features that are ‘compact courtyards’-small, vertical spaces between two buildings-serve as vents that regulate tempretures and the flow of air. Both elements are increasingly seen within houses, offices and malls in Pakistan.
By Uzma Nawaz