chuandou (column-and-tie-beam framework)


  • chuāndòu (Pinyin)
  • penetrating and interlocking (English)3
  • column-and-tie-beam framework (English)2
  • post-and-tie construction (English)4
  • ch'uan-tou (Wade-Giles)
  • 穿鬥 (Traditional Chinese)1
  • 穿斗 (Simplified Chinese)


Chuandou 穿鬥 is one of the two main types of Chinese timber-frame structure, the other being tailiang. The term was created by architectural historians in the 1940s following the terms used by the craftsman of southwest China, including chuandou 穿逗, litie 立貼, and chuandou 串斗. The term, and the structural process it describes, is associated with the the timber-frame structures of Southern China.

In the chuandou structural system, pillars support the purlins directly, and several layers of tie-beams penetrate the pillars to join them together. Literally, chuandou has a verbal connotation, referring to a particular procedure of construction. First pillars of the same bay (the truss-like frame perpendicular to the roof ridge) are connected by the work of "chuan," and then multiple frames of different bays are interlocked (parallel to the roof ridge) by the work of "dou" to form the whole timber-frame structure.



(BAI Ying 白穎, ATTCAT 2018)


penetrating and interlocking ATTCAT 2018

穿鬥: (1) 刘致平. 中国建筑类型及结构. 北京: 中国建筑工业出版社, 2000:56 (2) 刘敦桢 主编. 中国古代建筑史. 北京: 中国建筑工业出版社, 1980:4

column-and-tie-beam framework: (3) Fu Xinian. Traditional Chinese Architecture. Princeton University Press, 2017: 351

post-and-tie construction: (4) Guo, Qinghua. A Visual Dictionary of Chinese Architecture 中國建築英漢雙解辭典. Mulgrave, Vic., Australia: Images Pub., 2002, 25.

Related terms: 檯梁 táiliáng ; 井干 jǐnggàn ; 穿逗 chuāndòu ; 串斗 chuàndòu ; 立貼 lìtiē

Works Cited

Any information without attribution has been created following the editorial guidelines.

  • 1 刘, 中國建築類型及結構, 56.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 刘, 中国古代建筑史, 4.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 2 FU, Traditional Chinese Architecture: Twelve Essays, 351.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 3 ATTCAT 2018Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 4 GUO, A Visual Dictionary of Chinese Architecture 中國建築英漢雙解辭典, 25.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

Broad Match: Building Frame

External relationships (1)

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chuandou (column-and-tie-beam framework)” in Architectura Sinica last modified May 17, 2019,


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