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Sat 29 Dec 2007 04:00 AM

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Feng shui in architecture

Achieving a balance between structural and energetic integrity with feng shui.

Achieving a balance between structural and energetic integrity with feng shui.

An introduction

Feng shui is an ancient Chinese combination of art and science that brings balance, strength and unity to positive energy forces in the environment. In other words, feng shui is a link between the modern perception and method of construction and various forms of energy in nature.

Feng shui considers locations, materials, proportions, shapes and orientation crucial to the building process and the overall health of a building's inhabitants. Feng shui in architecture cultivates health, establishes closeness to nature, improves aesthetics, offers opportunities for success and enhances quality of life.

Feng shui practitioners believe that adjustments to our outer physical world change and improve our inner selves. Feng shui consultants assist architects to infuse energy into and enhance energy around a building. For architects, the aim of using feng shui is to enhance the wellness and life achievement of occupants of the building. It is a detail-oriented system widely used to create a vibrant and harmonious living environment.

In architecture and construction, feng shui establishes the foundation of the property for its inhabitants. The feng shui consultant considers several elements including location, materials, history of the land or building, absence or presence of landscaping, surrounding environment, building orientation and property dimensions.

This process allows the consultant to study the land and the flow and circulation of energy, which might reflect positively or negatively on its occupants.

This becomes a guideline to detect and rectify problematic issues at an early stage, and identify positive energy within the building or premises.

On the exterior, a feng shui consultant can help choose the land and location and assist in pre-design and pre-construction decisions. On the interior, a feng shui consultant can address the layout of a room, consult on interior design theory and ensure the proper placement of furniture to enhance the positive flow of energy.

Exterior elements are as important as interior ones in feng shui, because one energy flow can easily weaken or destroy another energy flow if they are not properly chosen and aligned.

Five elements

The most important component of Feng shui is recognition and adherence to the five elements. Wood, fire, earth, metal and water are the basis of feng shui and from this formula, the Chinese discovered the premise of yin and yang.

A space that is considered yang is one with very high ceilings, expansive views, and bright colours. A space that is considered yin has a low ceiling, dark colour and less light.

To enhance productivity within a space, using yang energy is the most effective method. However, it's important to note that while yang energy is positive and will, therefore increase business, a predominance of yang energy may bring a host of problems. Feng shui is about creating a balance between the two extremes of yin and yang energies, and using that balance to align both energies to increase harmony.

The five transformations of chi

Each element is a representation of one type of energy that is involved in association shape, association activity, building shape and colour. By using these five elements in an architectural plan, architects can promote health, wealth, prosperity and happiness in the built environment.

Feng shui and the five transformations of chi also incorporate three cycles: Productive cycle; weakening cycle and destructive cycle - which, depending on the orientation and arrangement of items or buildings, can add or diminish a certain element's energy.

For example, a real estate company planning to build its own office would be best suited to incorporate a square architectural shape, which would highlight the structure and its purpose. Natural colours such as yellow, brown or beige for interior design would enhance the energies and further bring prosperity. An investment house or jeweller, on the other hand, would be best suited to incorporate a curved building with a metallic colour combination.

The building process, with regard to incorporating feng shui, involves understanding and implementing a great deal of information involving the five elements of harmony. For example, if one's building is facing 328º, for example, this orientation will inevitably bring difficulty to the occupant's life. But, if the same building is altered to face 332.4º, great prosperity is assured.

It is important for both architects, developers and clients to realise that feng shui in architecture includes, but is not limited to: Choosing the land; drawing the plans; orienting the structures and finalising the construction.

Commercial feng shui

Perhaps an example will best illustrate these theories. A few months ago, I visited a friend who was in the midst of organising his new office. He invited me to view his initial floorplan and, possibly, apply feng shui principles in his design.

After analysing the technical charts and floorplans in terms of different energy angles, I immediately identified the challenges in certain zones.

For example, the restroom was located directly in the wealth corner, according to the flying star table, which meant that his finances would face constant challenges.

We began working on redesigning the floorplan to change the position of the restroom to ensure that this area would not be affected by the negative chi.

To further take advantage of the natural energies within this area, we positioned his sales and promotion department there to enhance greater wealth and prosperity.

Another challenge in his building was the positioning of both the staircase and the main entrance. We addressed this dilemma by relocating the staircase and altering the direction of the main door to create better harmony, ensuring positive energy and maximising the opportunity of his new business.

Real estate feng shui

Real estate agents and investors are constantly facing the challenges of selling, buying and investing in new properties and realising high returns. Experience tells us that professionals in these fields are familiar with these cycles and they accept the ebbs and flows of their profession.

However, what these professionals often fail to realise is that applying feng shui techniques to their properties enhances the likelihood of selling developments faster and attracting buyers quicker.

By neglecting these crucial ancient techniques, these professionals are also failing to take advantage of the prosperity, harmony and happiness that can be garnered from the industry. Feng shui techniques can also bring prosperity to the professional, tangible results, which can then be passed on to his/her clients.

Other components to consider include the direction and the degree of the entrance. Also being aware of environmental considerations including traffic lights, street location and nearby buildings can either add or diminish energy flow and, ultimately, affect harmony.

Contractors and architects most often focus on the best and most cost-effective ways of building practical, functional and, sometimes, spectacular buildings. Often neglected in this process, however, are simple considerations like the orientation of a wall or building.

After a great amount of calculation and consultation, these seemingly simple considerations and adjustments can have a significant effect on the lives of the building's inhabitants.

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