In China, the most often used building materials for buildings are earth and wood, both of which have good associations. The foundation of a home is often formed of pounded earth, and in some cases when wood was scarce, earth was used to build walls. Wood is the most common material for construction today, but if you ask someone what a house is built of, they might say "it's made of bricks or stones". This is not really correct, although bricks and stone are important elements in constructing a house.
Chinese homes tend to be smaller than those in North America. In large cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, apartments can be tight with little room for walking around. Thus, the typical Chinese house is small but functional. It has a ground floor apartment that serves as the living room, dining room, and kitchen all in one. Upstairs are two bedrooms and a bathroom. There is no separate study or laundry room. A garage or parking space under the house is also rare.
Most Chinese houses have only one entrance, which is usually on the side of the house next to the street. If the house has more than one floor, then it will usually have several sets of stairs instead. These days, many families don't like to go out and about for things such as work or shopping, so they need their houses to be close by.
Most dwellings had pounded earth foundations and wooden frames, with brick, earth, or wood walls and flooring. Whether it was the house of a wealthy family, a poor family, a temple, or a palace, the plan of an old Chinese structure was identical. It consisted of an outer wall about five feet high and three-fourths of a mile around when measured at its base, within which were enclosed the living quarters. This outer wall was sufficient to protect the inhabitants from attack, but not so strong as to be impenetrable. Within the wall were smaller versions of the same structure. These inner rooms were used for storage, and sometimes for sleeping.
The foundation of a Chinese dwelling was usually made of rubble mixed with clay. The surface was pounded hard to make it level with no visible cracks. Inside the wall, the ground was usually covered with mats or straw that kept out the cold in winter and removed from the heat in summer.
The framework of the building was made of wood, usually pine, with the trunks growing close together so there would be no open spaces inside the wall where someone could hide. The wood was cut into standard sizes and then joined together with mortise and tenon joints. The ends of the tenons were wrapped with cordage to prevent them from splitting away from the main body of the frame. On top of the frame, another layer of wood was placed for added strength.
Houses were built in a similar fashion. The majority of ancient Chinese dwellings were built around a rectangular courtyard. The wealthy constructed three connected wings or bays, similar to the three sides of a window frame. They accomplished this by dividing each side of the rectangle into four parts with perpendicular streets. The four divisions were then divided up into smaller units called "lunettes" or "mansions". Each mansion had its own entrance with a gate that was opened using a bell rope hanging inside the gate. The courtyard was used for housing animals as well as for public activities such as exercising horses or playing chess.
In northern China, several large walled cities were founded by immigrants from outside the area, mainly from Central Asia. These outsiders built their own small houses within the city walls, surrounded by gardens. The Chinese adopted this style of building and named it "cangong si", meaning "foreigner's house".
In southern China, especially during the Song dynasty, houses became more spacious for the increasing number of people living within them. They also started to build higher than the previous generation, using more durable materials such as stone or brick. The layout of these new houses was based on the five elements theory, which said that everything in the world is made up of the basic elements air, fire, water, earth, and wood.
The ancient Chinese built their little private dwellings out of dried mud, rough stones, and wood. The oldest homes are square, rectangular, or oval in shape. They had thatched roofs (often made of straw or reed bundles) supported by wooden poles, the foundation holes for which are often evident. The windows were usually only large enough for one person at a time to get through.
The people lived in these simple houses with their family members. Each household had its own space inside the house. Women usually kept their precious possessions close at hand; men kept theirs in chests located outside of the house. There was no such thing as privacy for families who wanted to sleep in together!
Chinese houses have been found filled with thousands of items, including clothes, bowls, baskets, and tools. Sometimes bodies have been buried with their personal belongings, indicating that they died alone.
It is estimated that by 300 B.C., there were already written instructions on building houses. These texts described how to build proper rooms for eating, sleeping, working, and living in. They also included information about construction materials like wood, brick, stone, and clay.
In conclusion, the Chinese built small, simple houses without any advanced technology. Their lives were hard, there were not so many of them, and most important, they had no freedom.
Why are Japanese buildings constructed of wood? – According to Quora. Brittle materials include bricks, stone, cement, and RCC. Because of its flexibility and elasticity, wood provides both strength and a cushioning effect. As a result, dwellings built of wood are more vulnerable to earthquakes. However, wood is used because it's easy to work with and durable over time.
Japanese buildings use wood because it's easy to find in most parts of the country. It's strong and can last for hundreds of years if properly treated. The main ingredient in wood, which makes it useful for building, is cellulose. Cellulose is the same thing that gives trees their rigidity; therefore, wood is rigid yet flexible at the same time.
In addition to being easy to come by, wood is also affordable. Wood is less expensive than other building materials such as brick or concrete. Also, lumber companies often sell their leftovers for cheap so there's no need to spend a lot of money to build a house. Finally, wood is an environmentally friendly material to use for construction. It doesn't pollute, isn't resource-intensive to mine, and doesn't emit gas emissions during production.
However, wood is susceptible to insects and bacteria that can cause diseases. If you live in a hot climate like Japan's, you'll also need to worry about wildfires.