East Asian (Chinese) Architecture

I was inspired to model some sort of timber building in the Chinese style one day when reading an architectural book and it became my first project in 2.8. I have begun without deciding on the purpose of the building nor its overall layout (which may be a bad idea).

Modeling began on a section of the front facade and I started from the cylindrical pillar up. The building’s internal structural elements would be modeled along with the exterior as I hope to present a more complete and detailed representation of the architectural style. Mind that the layout of the support frame is based on Chinese architecture during the Ming and Qing Dynasties as the two periods are much closer to present therefore more structures of that style are preserved which I may draw reference from. However, the look and feel of the structure will be closer to the architecture of the more ancient Tang and Song Dynasty and perhaps even Japanese seeing as they are more rustic and have a more modest yet graceful look.

Note that I do take liberty in altering the design as I see fit since this is an artistic interpretation at its core and not an architectural recreation.

Pillar and beams first

Brackets according to reference (yes I know it’s a modern recreation but it’s the clearest irl image of the brackets I could find)

Interior of the brackets modled according to this pic

extruding beam tip over the pillar brackets as seen in the first ref. pic

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Started on the corner, I copied a section of the facade and begun work. Note that the distance between the corner pillar and the adjacent pillar are two thirds of the distance between the. I used the distance from one bracket stack to another as units of length, between pillars of the facade there are two bracket stacks and three spaces and on the corner it’s one bracket stack and two spaces.

Heres the main framework in place, also touched up the beam tips to match their shape in my reference. Time to move onto the insanely complex corner bracket stack.

I went through a few Chinese articles in order to understand how these brackets work, I took a considerable amount of time just tweaking every individual piece so that they look balanced. it was quite an effort but I’m very happy with the results on it at the end.

Today’s render


Frame and Walls

Some changes to interior beams and frames, also I assembled some very simplistic wall elements and door sections to complete the face of the building.

designs for the walls and windows are inspired by a modern Tang styled temple built in Hong Kong:


Begun work on the roof support beams, apparently one of the hardest tasks in this project.
The uniform section was made with ease by array modifiers after modeling one element, but the challenge lies in the corners.

Corner Roof

I looked into a Chinese blog modeling traditional architecture to begin, then proceeded to analyze the closeups of roofs as well as plans.

To summarize, every round beam on the corners fan out from one pillar, the end cross-section is round and each piece is distinct.
I attempted to use modifiers, curves, and lattices but none of the results out of these methods are satisfying so I began to do them individually by hand.

Results after 4 hours of tweaking, they are still incomplete as for the time being yet still possess a sense of geometric beauty.

and render


Fascinating in depth study!

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Completed the second layer of roof support beams. Notice how the cupports near the corner tilts upwards slightly.

Building upon the second roof level (basically copied the first level)

Stone pillar bases are one of the most important components as they keep the timber at an elevated position from the ground to avoid rotting from moisture. I can use these bases to previs the layout of pillars in the model which is helpful. I used an image I took in the Forbidden City as reference:

The bases in the Forbidden City are actually quite minimalistic compared to some of the more elaborately sculpted pieces which have engraved decorations patterns. It’s simply circular at top and a square at the base.

laying out pillar bases