Roofs on Resting Hill The value of'resting hill' or Xie Shan roofs (Xie Shan Ding xieshanding) with two curving sides was second only to hip roofs. They were mostly employed for grand halls, temples, gardens, and other governmental structures. The Xie Shan roof came in two varieties: mono-eave and double-eave. The former had one flat side next to the wall and one curved side opposite the wall. The latter had two flat sides next to the walls allowing for more interior space.
Roofs on Living Hills Chinese homes often have a small pavilion at the top of a hill as part of their backyard, which is called a "living hill". These living hills provide residents with a place to go during bad weather, and can also be used as an observatory or study. The Chinese word for this type of roof is Qiáo Piaóu .
Roofs on High Mountains Usually found on imperial palaces and other large buildings, these high mountain peaks ("Qiáo Shān") roofs were made of expensive materials such as marble and stone. They would require many experts to build because they were so complex.
Roofs on High Places Often found on ancient buildings in China, these high place ("Shang Qiáo") roofs were used by builders as a way to show off their skills and knowledge of architecture. These roofs were very complicated and could only be built by masters of their trade.
The hip-and-gable roof design, also known as the xieshan roof style, arose in China as an adaption of the hip roof during the Eastern Han era. It was primarily employed in the construction of palaces, temples, gardens, and other governmental structures. The hip-and-gable roof is so named because its peak is shaped like a hip with a flat surface extending out from it like a gable. This is in contrast to the traditional bell-shaped roof which resembles a hip only at the top but continues straight up into a point.
During the Song dynasty, the hip-and-gable roof came to be used extensively for private houses, too. It provided more headroom inside the house than the flat roof did, so it was suitable for larger families or groups of friends who liked to gather together in one room. The unique feature of the hip-and-gable roof is that it has two peaks: one on each side of the house. So even if you walk around the corner of the building, you're not out of sight of the sky.
After the fall of the Song dynasty, Chinese homes began to be built out of brick instead of wood, and so hip-and-gable roofs became obsolete except for special buildings such as museums. However, they remained popular among immigrants to North America who wanted to replicate the architecture of China within their new communities.
Roofs on Hardhill Hard hill roofs (Ying Shan Ding yingshanding) had a central ridge as well as high sloping ridges on the gable walls. It had a pretty straightforward design, with two slopes facing front and rear. Hard hill roofs were mainly employed in ordinary houses throughout the Ming and Qing eras, despite being considered a low-grade roof design in China. They are still used today in rural areas for their simplicity and affordability.
The rich Chinese homes use a special type of roof called "Gongxian" or "Kaiyuan" which is similar to a half-timbered house. There are typically three gongs on each side of the roof that resemble large windows. The gongs are open on the top but closed at the bottom so that rain cannot enter the house through them. They provide light and air inside the house while also serving as decorative elements.
The Kaiyuan roof is particularly common in Zhejiang Province, although it can be found elsewhere. These roofs are most easily recognizable by their three gongs that stick out from each side of the roof.
They serve several purposes. First, they allow light into the house during daylight hours. Second, they help keep out heavy rains and strong winds. Finally, they give the house an appearance. Although Gongxian roofs are popular with the rich, they are not required by law to be built this way. Any flat surface can be covered with tiles or shingles instead.