The palaces and halls:
Their forms were patterned after Heaven and Earth;
Their warp and weft conformed to yin and yang.
They were situated at the exact position of Kun's earthly numina,
And imitated the round and square of Tai and Zi.
They erected ornate watchtowers piercing the sky,
Lavishly built vermilion halls crowning the peaks.
Using the rarest materials, the most wondrous artistry,
The hoisted rainbow beams shaped like winged dragons,
Aligned purlins and rafters to place the eaves,
Shouldered long and short ridgepoles, which soared on high.
They carved jade pedestals to set the coulmns,
Cut golden discs to adorn the finials.
Emitting the lustrous hues of the five colors,
The light, like flashing flames, was bright and brilliant.

--Ban Gu (32-92), "Western Capital Rhapsody"
translated by David R. Knechtges

basic elements
wooden support structures
roofs and ornamentation
building orientation and courtyard complexes