China's Sacred Sites

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9780893892623: China's Sacred Sites
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The ancient Chinese developed building techniques that are astounding in their ability to match nature and endure for centuries. China's Sacred Sites presents a vision of architecture as a harmonious interaction of human culture and the natural world. Over 300 color photos and architectural drawings document some of the most remarkable achievements of mountainscape feng shui. The wisdom of these ancient builders is particularly relevant today as sustainable building practices and green design take architecture in new directions.

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About the Author:

Professor Nan Shunxun has taught architectural design theory at universities in the United States and China. He has been a professor at the Beijing Institute for Civil Engineering and Architecture for over fifteen years. He is the author of numerous articles and books in China, including Earth Architecture in Northwest China and Folk Dwellings of Shaanxi. Beverly Foit-Albert, R.A., Ph.D., is the founder of Foit-Albert Associates architectural firm in Buffalo, New York, and an Associate Professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo. The firm is known for its commitment to urban revitalization and historic preservation projects. In 1989, as an exchange scholar, Dr. Foit-Albert went to China to conduct a design studio and lecture series exploring the preservation of historic buildings in China. She returned to China in 1995 to research and document Chinese historical mountainscape architectural sites with Professor Nan and architectural photography with John Valentino. Dr. Foit-Albert is the recipient of the American Institute of Architects national award for teaching excellence in architecture.

From Publishers Weekly:

This stunning volume, co-written by two architects, suggests that Chinese religious architecture is fundamentally different from Western religious architecture. In the West, builders inspired by the biblical mandate to take dominion over the earth have designed towns in which architectural elements visually assert ownership over the landscape. In China, by contrast, "the building merges with the site." The authors explain, in terms that any layman will grasp, central concepts of Chinese architecture, such as the void (expansive spaces found in temples and terraces, which echo the Buddhist focus on nothingness), and the integration of nature and architecture. Shun-xun and Foit-Albert explore over 50 short portraits of sacred sites in caves, on cliffs, in mountain villages, and on lakes, explaining the distinguishing natural and architectural features. Readers will visit the Sweet Dew Temple (the yang of the temple balances the yin of the cave in which it is nestled), and the town of Xituo, in which a famous street shaped like a ladder "opens communication through time and space." Lush color photographs make this book a feast for the eyes, not just the soul. Readers interested in architecture, feng shui or Eastern spirituality will enjoy visiting China with Shun-xun and Foit-Albert as their guides. (Feb.)
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