The Blending of Architectural Form and Culture in Harbin Middle East Railway Period

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Chunyu Zhang
Sitthidham Rohitasuk
Kittikorn Nopudomphan


Harbin's distinctive architectural identity, shaped by the convergence of Russian and Western influences during the Middle East Railway period, reflects a unique blend of cultural and architectural styles. This article aimed to study (1) the history and development of architectural forms in Harbin during the Middle East Railway period and (2) study the blending of architectural form and culture in Harbin during the Middle East Railway period. The first group of samples was 119 buildings selected from the fifth batch of 219 historical buildings in Harbin using stratified random sampling method. The second group of samples was 10 experts and scholars well-versed in the history and development of architectural forms in Harbin Middle East Railway period. The instruments for collecting data were observation, document analysis and expert interview. The analysis data was obtained by descriptive statistics and content analysis. The research results were found as follows;

1. Harbin’s architectural evolution began with Russian influences and subsequently incorporated Japanese, Jewish, and Islamic styles, along with Western trends like Renaissance, Gothic, Baroque, and Neoclassical. The addition of Art Nouveau and modernist styles marked a contemporary phase, contrasting with the decline of traditional Chinese architecture. The study categorized 17 distinct architectural styles into five main groups, which were foreign national styles, new wave styles, Western classics, local styles, and eclectic styles.

2. The study highlighted six key aspects of architectural and cultural blending in Harbin during the Middle East Railway period, including Pluralistic Innovation and Inclusiveness, Migrant Cultures and Ethnic Traditions, Industrial Civilization and the Age, Local Culture and Regional Technology, Diffusion and fusion, and Geopolitical Character.

The results of the study revealed the main styles of Harbin's architecture and its blending with diverse cultural elements during this significant historical period. This study contributes to a deeper understanding of Harbin's cultural heritage and its role in shaping the city's architectural landscape.


Article Details

How to Cite
Zhang, C., Rohitasuk, S., & Nopudomphan, K. (2024). The Blending of Architectural Form and Culture in Harbin Middle East Railway Period. Journal of Multidisciplinary in Humanities and Social Sciences, 7(1), 584–603. Retrieved from
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