Theories of Asian Architecture


Every continent has its own touch of flavor that makes it stand out from the other, the colorful styles of Asia are no exception. In my point of view I believe it’s the culture of the people that help influence their style. It can range from a variety of different ways: the simplicity of a mundane life to the adrenaline rush pumping inside a warrior’s veins, or it could also be somewhere in the middle. These acts help influence Asia’s past, present and future architectural styles with almost no boundaries.

Our first assignment started with focusing on a architectural style from any country inside Asia. The topic eventually narrowed down to the Thai Traditional House, set in Central Thailand. What I ended up loving most about this simple yet, effective, house was the fact that it paid little to no mind about aesthetics. It almost sounded absurd when looking at the rest of their architecture that practically reeked of boldness and extravagance (no offence meant in any way…), but then again, the stilt house was meant for the poor… and yet, that didn’t stop the people from portraying a subtle style of their own.

Let’s get back to the first point; little attention to art. Functionality plays a major role in every single corner of the house. Want a wide open space that allows great air ventilation? You got the Chaan (Central Terrace) and the area underneath the house. Protection from rain? That’s where the curved roofs come in. What about floods? The house wasn’t elevated above the ground just for show, it even serves as a great protection from any wild animals and thieves.

Now to counter our first statement; the simplistic and effective look of the house that ended up inspiring thousands of architects. Simplicity truly is effective. From the slightly tilted high roofs to the use of limited materials(wood and bamboo), these small styles helped title the house as one of the most beautiful traditional houses in Asia. Thus, it came as no surprise when architects decided using these ideas as their basic foundation to improve and expand into something entirely new.

Our last assignment ended up being based on the Satu Gajah Court House, found in Malaysia. My teammates and I were each assigned to a specific task that we had to focus on and ended up researching on why and/or how this structure stood out the most. To be honest, I’m not that enthralled by historical architecture, I end up finding it boring and often find myself staring at it for long hours because it makes me pause at the old styles that were considered as modern and exciting for our ancestors.

Why go for this style? Why look over the functionality? How could you have gone with that idea? What was the reason behind that certain pillar? When did you finally realize that you needed to take a different approach? Questions would often (and they still do) go through my head as I would stare, sometimes glare, at the architecture of the past. On the other hand, it was a blessing in disguise for me (sadly, I have yet to grasp that blessing fully), but it made me think.

Everything around us is not original, or rather, everything man-made is not original, it always leads to nature. However, there is a pattern; to copy, paste and then improve. And that’s what every architect has been doing for all these years, improving the mistakes of the past; and it all depended on perception. A person’s mind is one thing that is truly original, it stands out because like fingerprints, everyone’s is different. Hence, viewing ancient architecture allowed be the opportunity to sit done and see how my perspective will stand out then the rest.