Over thousands of years, the building science of timber framing developed independently in both Northern Europe and China. But one big difference between the regions is that China, by virtue of its size and geological traits, is prone to devastating earthquakes.
image/text credit: Channel 4
Ancient Chinese builders thus needed a way to create wooden structures that could not be shaken apart, and that were not so stiff that its support members would shatter.Watch how this structure built in the Forbidden City style of architecture holds up to a simulated earthquake!via(wikipedia).
Dougong is a unique structural element of interlocking wooden brackets, one of the most important elements in traditional Chinese architecture.The use of dougong first appeared in buildings of the late centuries BC and evolved into a structural network that joined pillars and columns to the frame of the roof.
Dougong was widely used in the ancient Chinesend, developed into a complex set of interlocking parts by its peak in the Tang and Song periods. The pieces are fitted together by joinery alone without glue or fasteners, due to the precision and quality of the carpentry.