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Old Qilou Buildings: Historical Architecture in Guangzhou (Part 2)

The Architectural Style of Historic Qilou Buildings

Updated Beijing Time

                                                               (file photo)

Old Qilou Buildings: Historical Architecture in Guangzhou (Part 1)

The designers and builders of the Qilou Building were not professional architects, but common workmen instead. The vivid and distinctive architectural style of the Qilou Building was created by those workmen using their own understanding of western architecture and experience in construction.

Gothic Style
Magnum opus: Beijing Road Xinhua Bookstore & Aiqun Mansion

This Qilou style is very rare in other cities. The sharp vertical lines and the extended arched windows represent a strong Gothic feeling, seen clearly in the Aiqun Mansion. The skillful vertical composition of its façade, as well as its imitation Gothic windows and porticos never fail to impress passers-by.

Nanyang Style
Magnum opus: No. 186 at Wenming Rd.

Cutting holes in parapets is a creative architectural style particular to the Nanyang area. The holes can be round or other shapes, and serve to lessen the affect of wind on the walls when forceful typhoons hit the Nanyang area. This style has influenced other architectures as well. For example, on Wenming Road and Haizhu Road, Qilou Buildings of the Nanyang style can be found.

Ancient Roman Gallery Style
Magnum opus: Xinhua Hotel

This type of Qilou Building is seldom seen in other cities except for Guangzhou. The base of the Xinhua Hotel is fashioned after a typical ancient Roman Gallery, containing a simplified Roman Columniation style. Overall, its details hold a strong Roman mood.

Imitation Baroque Style
Magnum opus: Wanfu Road and Shang Xiajiu Pedestrian Street  

This type of Qilou Building is prolific in South China and Southeast Asia. Imitation Baroque is different from the preciseness of classical architecture, and is less fussy than authentic Baroque. In Guangzhou, the Baroque style of architecture and decoration in Qilou Buildings, which is usually used in pediments and parapets, can be found in Shang Xiajiu Pedestrian Street, Long Jinxi Road and Wanfu Road.

Magnum opus: Around Taikang Road 

This type of Qilou Building was usually built after 1980s. The scale, frame, materials and sculptures of the Modernisme Qilou Buildings are distinguished from traditional Qilou. Generally, this type of Qilou is less complicated in decoration, adopting a simpler and more practical technique instead.   

Traditional Chinese Architectural Style
Magnum opus: No. 139 at South Dezheng Road

The Chinese architectural style of the Qilou Building inherited many characteristics from the traditional folk residences of South China. The corridors of the Qilou offer shelter from the weather, with two or three windows arranged on the frontispiece and almost no decoration on the façade. However, this type of Qilou can be seen only on Nanhua, Tongfu, Wanfu, Dezheng and Qiyi Roads.

(By Luna Yang and Stephen Roach)


Editor: Chen Minjie

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