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From the beginning of time, man’s drive to build has been shaped by two fundamental forces: nature and culture. As civilizations developed, built environment was shaped both by practical needs for shelter and cultural values that defined society. Architecture began humbly in vernacular settlements and evolved over centuries into complex living communities and monumental built form. The architectural history of China and Japan can be traced from early responses regarding nature, the land, social needs and cultural standards. Their architecture today — from gardens to cities — has evolved from decisions made centuries ago.