Chino-Portuguese (Sino-Portuguese) architecture is a mixture of the Chinese and European style. “Chino” refers to the Chinese aspects of the buildings while “Portuguese” refers to Portugal, the first European nation to arrive in Phuket and gave architectural influence to the province, in addition, to Penang, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia before the advent of other European influences.
Portuguese designed their houses and shelters with their western style and knowledge, and handed over the house plan to Chinese to build the houses. The Chinese constructed buildings according to their skills, experience, myths and believes of Chinese people. The building style were distorted from the original plan designed by the Portuguese, so, the building style shows the mix characteristic of Portuguese, Chinese, Malaysian, and Indonesian.
Later on, the Dutch and English came in and had influence on this area. Minor changes were added on buildings styles, and so this style of architecture was called “Chino-Portuguese”
Chino-Portuguese architecture had gained the highest popularity from the reign of King Rama V through towards the end of Kong Rama VI’s reign (1868-1925 A.D.) the period was the peak of the region’s tin mining evolution as well as economic growth. Most of the prosperous and successful miners at that time were Chinese immigrants. A number of Chino-Portuguese buildings still remain to be seen on Phang Nga, Yaowarat, Dibuk, and Krabi Roads.
Chino-Portuguese architecture is the mixture of European architecture and Chinese art, so called “Colonial Style”. Shop house or semi-residential comprises of connecting walkway with arch on the first floor that becomes arcade.
Apart from arcade, other classic architecture was added in Chino-Portuguese style i.e. Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian which shows the impact of Renaissance and Neoclassic architecture.
The mixture of Chinese style are shown in decorations of building, from Chinese statue, window, door, to interior decorations.