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The Five Elements Architecture

“Wu Xing”, The five elements (metal, wood, water, fire and earth), raised by the ancients to compose the physical universe and later used in ancient philosophical practices to explain various physiological and psychological phenomena).


The Chinese ancients defined all things in the universe by five elements, Metal ( jīn), Wood ( mù), Water ( shuǐ), Fire ( huǒ), and Earth ( tǔ), and called them “Wu Xing”.


Then, Wu Xing became a fivefold conceptual scheme that many traditional Chinese philosophers used to explain a wide array of phenomena, including the formation of all things in the world and their interrelationships. It highlights the whole, and intends to describe the movement and transformation of matters. The well-known Yin Yang theory is the ancient doctrine of the unity of opposites, while Wu Xing is the theoretical origin of Yin Yang.


Generating, refers to the positive relationships exist between two types of things that have different natures, where they cooperate and coordinate. Specifically, Wood feeds Fire, Fire creates Earth (ash), Earth bears Metal, Metal collects Water, Water nourishes Wood.


Overcoming (contrary to generating), refers to the negative relationships among  five elements where they work against each other. Specifically, Water floods Earth, Wood exhausts Metal, Fire evaporates Water, Earth holds Wood, Metal Limits Fire.






The Five Elements Architecture Tour

E1- Gold (金) 

金属、钢结构、现代主义建筑(Metal, Steel Structure, Modernist Architecture)

The architects think out of the box of traditional architecture, intend to build an urban space that embraces both function and beauty, by their free dimensional composition and superb detail craft.


  1. 中国尊 China Zun, or China respect(BIAD)2hours

   2. CCTV央视大楼 CCTV Headquarters(OMA)2hours

   3. 侨福芳草地 Parkview Green(IDA) 2hours 

   4. 凤凰国际传媒中心Phoenix Center(BIAD)2hours

   5. “墨色山水”——朝阳公园广场及阿玛尼公寓建筑群Armani apartments group, Beijing Sun Park(MAD) 2hours

   6. 中国国家大剧院  National Centre for the Performing Arts(Paul Andreu)2hours

   7. 中国银行Bank of China(I. M. Pei) 2hours(贝聿铭) 

   8. 望京SOHO  Wangjing SOHO(Zaha Hadid)2hours 

   9. 银河SOHO Galaxy SOHO  2hours

   10. 鸟巢 Beijing National Stadium   2hours

   11. 水立方 National Aquatics Center   2hours

   12. 丽泽SOHO   Leeza SOHO  1.5hours

   13. 三源里菜市场  Sanyuanli Market  2hours

   14. 798艺术区  798 ArtDist   3.5hours 

   15. 草场地艺术区 Caochangdi international art village   2hours

   16. 国家图书馆 National Library of China   2hours

   17. 红砖美术馆 Red Brick Art Museum   3hours

   18. 香山饭店 Fragrant Hill hotel   3hours


Day1:1(China Zun)+2 (CCTV)+3(Parkview Green)+9(Galaxy SOHO)

Day2:13(Sanyuanli Market)+4(Phoenix Center)+5(Armani apartments group, Beijing Sun Park)

Day3:6(National Centre for the Performing Arts)+7(Bank of China)+10(Beijing National Stadium)+11(National Aquatics Center)

Day4:14(798 ArtDist)+8(Wangjing SOHO)+17(Red Brick Art Museum)



E2-Wood (木)

植被、园林、景观 (Vegetation, garden, landscape)

The architects create a spiritual aura by injecting artificial buildings into splendid natural scenery, in order to build a space where human can live harmoniously with nature and eventually combine into one.

  1. 圆明园 The Old Summer Palace  3.5hours

  2. 北海公园 Beihai Park  2.5hours

  3. 景山公园 Jingshan Park  2hours

  4. 园博园  Beijing Garden Expo Park  3.5hours

  5. 篱苑书屋 Liyuan Library  3hours

  6. 长城脚下的公社 Commune by the Great Wall Hotel   2hours

  7. 松美术馆Song Art Museum   3hours

Day1: 1(The Old Summer Palace)+2(Beihai Park)+3(Jingshan Park)

Day2: 7(Song Art Museum )+5(Liyuan Library )+(APEC  Yanqi Lack)




水边建筑 (Waterfront architecture)
The tranquil sound of lapping waves, the beauty of sunsets over the water and the feeling of being in one’s own paradise retreat compose a perennial favorite for everyday living and relaxing getaways.


   1. 什刹海 Shichahai Lake   3hours

   2. 颐和园 The Summer Palace   3.5hours

   3. 雁栖湖 APEC Yanqi Lake  2.5hours


Day1:1(Shichahai Lake)+2(The Summer Palace)

Day2:3 ( APEC Yanqi Lake )

热能、权力象征(heat, Symbol of power)  Chinese imperial architecture 
From its overall layout to the finest detail, Chinese imperial architecture was meticulously planned to reflect philosophical and religious principles, and above all to symbolize the majesty of Imperial power.

   1. 故宫 Forbidden City  3hours

   2. 天坛 Temple of Heaven 3hour

   3. 天安门 Tian'anmen Square  2hours

   4. 长城 the Great Wall   5hours

   5. 咖啡厅:我与地坛 café: the Corner

   6. 地坛 Temple of Earth   2hours


Day1:1(Forbidden City)2(Temple of Heaven)+3(Tian'anmen Square)

Day2:4(the Great Wall)+(Commune by the Great Wall)

Day3:(The Lama Temple)+(Confucian temple & Guozijian)+(café: the Corner)+6(Temple of Earth)


胡同、传统地域建筑 ( Hutong, vernacular architecture, traditional regional architecture )
Frank Lloyd Wright described vernacular architecture as "Folk building growing in response to actual needs, fitted into environment by people who knew no better than to fit them with native feeling".

   1.鼓楼、钟楼、箭楼Drum tower, Bell tower, Arrow tower   2hours

   2.南锣鼓巷South Luogu Lane  1hour

   3.南新仓Nanxincang  1hour

   4.白塔寺 White Pagoda Temple  1hour

   5.雍和宫 The Lama Temple  2.5hours

   6.微杂院儿 Micro Yuan'er   1hour 

   7.前门大街 Qianmen Street  3hours

   8.孔庙国子监Confucian temple & Guozijian, the Imperial College during the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties.   2.5hour

   9.胡同泡泡 Hutong bubble 32  1hour
   10.西打磨厂街七个建筑大师院儿 Seven architecture masterpieces in west grinding mill street   4hours 
   11.熊煮咖啡厅café: BearBrew  2hours 
   12.五道营胡同 Wudaoying alley  2hours

   13.微胡同 Micro-Hutong  1hour(张轲)

   14.史家胡同博物馆Shijia Hutong Museum   2hours

Day1:12(Wudaoying alley)+(Nanxincang)+(Shijia Hutong Museum)

Day2:Part3:6( Micro Yuan'er)+13(Micro-Hutong )+7(Qianmen Street)+10(Seven architecture masterpieces in west grinding mill street)+4(White Pagoda Temple)+11(café: BearBrew)


Day3:9( Hutong bubble)+(South Luogu Lane)+(钟鼓箭楼)

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