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Catalla, Gerard Anton A.
3 AR 3


NOVEMBER 13, 2014
Table of Contents

Khmer (Cambodia)

History of Architecture 3


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Korean Architecture

o Korea is surrounded by bodies of water like the Amnok River, Duman
River, East China Sea and Sea of Japan. The southern part of korea
however have plains while the north have mountainous regions, since the
country is surrounded by water, structures used Gidans or raised
platforms to protect their structures from water and to prevent the cold air
and humidity of the ground to enter their structures. Also, Chinese
influence plays a part in Korean architecture since China is close to Korea.
o Korea is mostly covered with low mountains therefore most of the building
materials are stone and timber. Stone for their platforms and timber for the
frames of the structures. Walls however are made from adobe or
sometimes all wooden doors.
o Northern regions are cold while the southern region experiences warm
and wet climate. Since Korea is in the temperate zone, they experience
the 4 seasons of winter, spring, summer and fall. Winters are extremely
cold due to Siberian air flow while the other seasons are generally hot and
dry. Because of this, their architecture uses different techniques to control
temperature, like the uneven distance of two buildings and the Ondol and
o There are two main religions in Korea, Buddhism and Confucianism.
Because of this, many temples were created to honor these religions like
the Bunhwangsa Temple and Bulguska Temple. Also they used
Dancheong to paint walls with symbols of the religions like Buddha and
etc. Religion played a big role to the development of temples and Korean
o Korean history is greatly influenced by different dynasties who had
different views in religion and also neighboring country of China. Because
of this, they adapted many styles from them like hipped roofs, pagodas
and etc.

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Japanese Architecture

o Japan, like the Philippines consists of many islands. Because japan is an
island, it is surrounded by bodies of water. Japan is also inside the pacific
ring of fire which means there are lots of earthquakes and typhoons.
Some of the neighboring countries around japan are china, Russia and
korea because of these, they influence Japanese architecture to the way it
o Japan is mostly a mountainous country, 80% of its land mass is coverd by
forests and wild vegetation. Because of this, most of the building materials
used in their architecture are bamboo, stone and granite.
o Since japan is in the temperate area of the world, they also experience the
4 seasons. Winter in some of the cities of japan, is mild while their
summers are hot and dry. However the northern parts of japan experience
colder winters and heavy snowfall. Because of this climate the houses
they build mostly face the south for heat. They also build high walls in the
northern parts of courtyards to protect them from the cold winter breeze.
o There are many religions in japan, Confucianism, Christianity, Shinto and
Buddhism. These all play a role in the development of Japanese
architecture as seen by their different temples like the hase kannon temple
and sensoji temple. Buddhism also played a role in the development of
one of the Japanese roof designs.
Social/ Historical/ Political
o Japan has a rich history dating back to jomon period of 300BC in which
they developed their architecture. It can be seen that some external forces
also influenced their architecture like Chinese architecture since they are
neighboring countries. During the Heian period, Hidden roofs were
invented stemming from Buddhist influence from china and korea.

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Tibetan Architecture
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o Tibet unlike Japan and Korea is not surrounded by water; this means that
Tibet is surrounded by different landmasses mainly India, Nepal, Bhutan
and China. Because of this, the surrounding countries affected the type of
architecture that Tibet had. Tibet is also called the roof of the world
because it is on the highest plateau in the world which means its a
mountainous country this too plays a part on their architecture.
o Tibet is a very mountainous region with a lot of lakes and rivers because
of this the building materials that they used were mostly stone, clay and
wood. They usually used granite for the walls, slate for canopies and
different kinds of wood for structural support.
o Since Tibet has a very high altitude, Tibet has a very cold climate.
Because of this, architecture was greatly affected. Like Japanese
structures, Tibetan structures are oriented to the south in order to receive
maximum daylight and heat. Most of the structures also used flat roofs in
order to entrap heat. Walls are also thick and inclined 10 degrees in order
to entrap heat and at the same time provide as protection from
o Buddhism is the main religion in Tibet because of the influence coming
from India. Because of the great influence of Buddhism, some
ornamentation was used on structures in Tibet. An example of this is the
Lung-ta, these prayer flags are hung across the mountain ridges and
along eaves of roofs. The different colors represented different elements in
the world like fire, air and water.
Historical/ Social/ Political
o Tibetan culture is expressed through craftsmanship, art, wood carvings
and the like. It is because carpentry was passed down from different
generations kind of like hand me downs to next generations.
o In Tibets history it can be seen that architecture slowly grew as time
passed by. The most prominent example of this is the Lhasa Jokhang
which is one of the ealiest temples of Tibet which presented many key
elements to Tibetan Architecture like Geometric planning and the use of
wood and long stones.

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Burmese Architecture

o Burma is the largest country in the mainland of Southeast Asia. The
landmass is mostly made up of lowlands and small mountain ranges.

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Some of the neighboring countries of Burma are China, India, Laos,

Bangladesh and Thailand. Because of this, neighboring countries helped
in influencing Burmese architecture.
o North side of Burma slopes downward to the southern side. Many
precious stones like gold, silver and diamond can be found beneath the
surface of Burma. Because of this, the wealth and richness is often
reflected on their structures. Their building materials were mostly of brick,
sandstone, large timber and plaster.
o Burma has a tropical monsoon kind of weather. They experience heavy
rainfall in the months of May to October and experience extreme heat
during the months of March and April. Because of the large landmass, the
northern highlands of Burma experience cooler temperatures since they
are higher. Because of this climate, Burmese architecture adapted to it. An
example is that their houses are six to eight feet above ground to improve
o Burma is dominantly a Buddhist country. Buddhism plays a huge role in
their architecture. An example of which is in their traditional Kayin house;
where they place their shrine in a westward orientation and should also be
attached to the living room. Buddhism beliefs also influenced the roof
styles which can be seen through the pyatthat which symbolizes the
Buddhist heaven Tayatimsa. Many temples and pagodas were created
because of Buddhist influence in the country.
History/ Social/ Political
o It can be seen in Burmas history that inhabitants have already lived there
for thousands of years. It can also be seen that there were external
influences in the development of Burma in the form of India as a neighbor
and the British as colonials. It is also said that the mayans used to inhabit
Burma. As such, their architecture has been influenced also by these

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Thai Architecture

o Thailand is surrounded by different countries like Laos, Burma, Cambodia
and Malaysia. Because of this, the various countries influenced their
architecture. For example, khmer influence was the use of sandstone in

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doors and windows. Also even some Chinese influence which can be seen
in the general harmony in Thai architecture.
o Thailands terrain is mostly made up from high mountains; a central plain
and an upland plateau because of this most of the materials that they
used are brick, stucco, wood, sandstone, porcelain and glass with wood
being heavily used in temple construction.
o Thailand is in the tropical region thus it has a hot and humid climate with
the exception of its flooding season from June to October. Because of its
climate, architecture in Thailand was influenced in the form of their
structures being on stilts 6 feet above the ground in order to provide
ventilation during the hot periods and also serve as protection from the
flooding season.
o Majority of the population in Thailand are Buddhist, thats Buddhism
greatly influences Thai architecture as well. The plans that they make for
houses stem from superstitions and religious beliefs. Buddhist influence
also helped in their temple design as seen from the many temples and
sacred structures they have like the chedi.
Historical/ Social/ Political
o Social beliefs play a role in Thai Architecture as there are social
hierarchies which indicate zones to classify different social positions. The
places where people lived in represented what they are in the hierarchy
which means that the higher a person is, the more they have a privacy
zone and an upper level in terms of aesthetics.

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Khmer (Cambodia) Architecture

o Cambodia topography is a mix of plains and various mountain ranges that
run throughout the country. It also consists of different kinds of bodies of
water like the great lake and the Mekong River which is the 12 th longest in
the world. Its surrounding countries are Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam
which help in the influence of Khmer Architecture. It can be seen in the

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character of their architecture which has influences from Indian and Thai
architecture. (house on stilts)
o Since Cambodia has a mountainous region, most of the materials used for
construction were sandstone, for the temples, laterite, for enclosed walls
and platforms, and wood which is what most of the structures are made of.
Also because of neighboring influences like stated before, bricks and
mortar masonry were also used stemming from Indian influences.
o Like Thailand, Cambodia is in the tropical region so it basically has a hot
humid climate. Similarly like Thai architecture, Khmer architecture also
uses the stilts on houses to for ventilation purposes because of the hot
o Most of the population of Cambodia is also Buddhist. There are also some
who are Christians and Hindus. Because of the vast amount of Buddhists
in Cambodia, it is said that there are around 4,400 monastery temples
throughout the country thus proving that religion played a big role in their
architecture. But Cambodia does not only boast a large amount of
Buddhist temples but also houses the biggest Hindu temple which is
Angkor Wat. Because of these influences temples follow specific
orientation towards the true east.
Historical/ Social/ Political
o Based from the history of Cambodia, the first kingdom of Cambodia, the
Funan Kingdom was greatly influenced by Indian culture, where Buddhism
comes from. That is why the influence of Buddhism is strong in Cambodia
because it started from the beginning thus having great effect in the
present and in the architecture of Cambodia

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Laotian Architecture

o Laos is the only landlocked nation in Southeast Asia therefore it is
surrounded by different countries such as China, Vietnam, Cambodia,
Thailand and Burma. The topography in Laos is mountainous with some
plains and plateaus. Like Cambodia, the Mekong River runs through Laos.
Because of the various neighboring countries and geography of the

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country Loatian architecture is pretty similar to that of Cambodia and

o Because of the topography of the country, the building materials mainly
used for structures are often timber in the form of bamboo. However Laos
is rich in precious stones like gold, silver, copper and iron and also
minerals like sapphire, gypsum, coal and more.
o The climate in Laos is pretty much the same as of Cambodia since they
are in the same tropical region, which is mostly dry and humid. The rainy
season occurs from May to October and the dry from November to April.
Because most of the people live near the Mekong River houses are also
on stilts similar to neighboring countries as forms of protection from the
flood and doubling as a coolant during the hot season.
o Buddhism is also widespread in Laos just like its neighboring countries.
Because of this, Buddhism plays a role in Laotian Architecture especially
in their temples. This can be seen in their Wats, which are Buddhist
temples which are made from brick and stucco with high roofs because of
Buddhist doctrines. They also have their own stupas called thats which
have a distinct curvilinear four-corned shape which symbolizes the lotus.
Historical/ Social/ Political
o It is said that the French empire took over laos for a brief period in time.
That it is why it can be seen in their architecture there is some French
colonial influence as well as a mix between Thai and Buddhist architecture
because of its geographical location.

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Vietnamese Architecture

o Vietnam is surrounded by a mix of landmass and bodies of water like
South China Sea, Pacific Ocean and for the land, Laos, Cambodia and
china. The topography in Vietnam has a mountainous terrain with a few
plains near the south. Because of this influences from other countries
especially china play a role in Vietnamese architecture since they are
neighbors. Example of which is the use of feng shui for construtction and

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the roofs with elevated hip rafters which is a distinct characteristic of

Chinese architecture.
o Because of the mountainous terrain of Vietnam the building materials they
used were mostly bamboo, thatch, brick, stone, tile, terracotta and lime
with the chief building material for construction as wood and the main
material for royal and religious buildings are stone and brick.
o Vietnam is in the tropical region of countries thus experiencing warm and
humid weather throughout the year. Because of this, their architecture
adapted to the climate which we can see in their vernacular Vietnamese
architecture which used massive wooden framework rather than the
lightweight stilt method used by its neighboring countries. Also because of
the climate the backs of houses, which face the north, have no windows
and doors to serve as protection from the cold winds.
o There are a lot of religions in Vietnam like Catholicism, Confucianism,
Buddhism, Cao, Dai, Hoa Hao, Islam and more. The vast number of
religions had an effect on Vietnamese architecture especially on temple
and pagoda planning. For example there are specific Buddhist plans and
also specific Taoist plans, with the former coming from Chinese influence
as well. Their influences can be seen in how the design their religious
structures like the Chua Keo Pagoda and the Dinh Temple.
Historical/ Social/ Political
o In the history of Vietnam, it is said that in the beginning, around 400 AD,
Vietnam was a part of china. Because of this, the great influence of china
could not only be seen in their culture but prominently in their architecture.
After their departure from china, Vietnam was ruled by France thus there
is also a French influence in their architecture in the form of their colonial
buildings like the Opera House in Hanoi and different palaces. Until now
the French colonial style still influence their modern architecture.

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Indonesian Architecture

o Indonesia is the worlds largest archipelago which has 13,677 islands.
Some of the neighboring countries near Indonesia are Malaysia, Papua
New Guinea, timor-leste, Palau, and the Philippines. Because of its vast
land, the effect on its architecture is that their traditional houses have
different styles of design.
o Indonesias land is the meeting point of several tectonic plates meaning
that they experience very strong earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

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Because of this, the building materials that they used were mostly bamboo
because of its strength to last during storms and powerful earthquakes.
Some other materials they used were andesite stones for their temples,
bricks with mortar for their gates and thatch and fibers for the Rumah
o Because Indonesia is such a big country, their climate and even time zone
differ from each other. Indonesia experiences a hot and wet monsoon
climate; the north western side being much colder than the south east
side. Because of this climate in the north east side, their architecture is
more about conserving heat because of the coldness through insulation
means. The south eastern side, being relatively close to Australia, has a
hot and dry climate. Because of this, architecture in this area takes into
more consideration the ventilation of a building and the use of lighter
materials so that their structures can breathe more. An example is that
their buildings are mostly on large stilts to provide for ventilation just like
Cambodia and Thailand structures.
o Hinduism was the most prominent religion in Indonesia during their
beginnings; however, as time passed by, they slowly transitioned from a
Hindu country to an Islamic country. Since Indonesia transitioned from
Hinduism to Islamic, the architecture with regards to religion became a mix
of mostly these religions. They developed different architectural styles
because of these like the Candi Architecture and the Balinese Architecture
which were inspired by religious sources.
Historical/ Social/ Political
o Indonesia was conquered by the Dutch around the 16 th to 17th century thus
opening Indonesia to colonial architecture. However after their
independence, they drifted away from the old colonial style and leaned
towards the Jenki style which introduces expression of freedom through
having irregular forms in structures.
o A social factor also affected the architecture in Indonesia. Sort of like the
caste system in Indian times, the Indonesians had different classes which
were separated by their language levels and their titles. It affected their
architecture because being higher in the class means the design and the
decorations of the houses are more extravagant and different than the
lower bracket.

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Islamic Architecture

o The Islam religion covers a vast amount of land ranging from northern
Africa until Southeast Asia. This affects Islamic architecture because since
the coverage is large, different styles of Islamic Architecture were created
due to the location of specific countries.
o Since the Islamic religion is widespread throughout the world it did not
only affect the style of their architecture, but also the materials for
construction that the people used. The most common materials were
stone, bricks, ceramics, stucco, wood and marble.
o As stated above, Islam covers different parts of the world thus they have
their own climates. This affected their architecture because their style of

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design of mosques or Islamic structures would have to adapt to the

climate of the certain area. Thus having a variety of design styles.
o Obviously religion plays a major role in Islamic architecture since there
would not be Islamic architecture without the religion of Islam. But the
main factors that affect the design of structures religion wise were the
beliefs of the Muslims. For example, the orientation of their buildings
should face Mecca and the way they ornate their structures using patters.
o Social factors like the kind of culture and people who are there affect
Islamic architecture because specific cultures also contribute to the
designing of structures. For example, in Persian style of Islamic
Architecture, most of the motifs for the designs come from Persian
influence since the culture there is like that.

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