The term “architect” has a long history in many different cultures, but not in 5000 years of Chinese culture. However, there are professionals from Chinese culture/history called “Feng-Shui Masters.” These masters and the architects of modern-day have the same role. The history of feng-shui and the people who have spent generations perfecting their practice have revealed its benefits through beautifully constructed buildings all over China.
Having just said that Modern Architectural practice and Feng-Shui practice are the same, there is a slight difference in the core focuses of each discipline. Modern architecture deals mainly with the material aspects of design; physical scales we can see and feel. Feng-Shui does not only deal with the material but also the invisible. One of these invisible or hidden aspects is called Qi (Chi), which stands for life’s energy. In other words, Feng-Shui “expands” the modern architectural understanding of space and time. Feng-Shui adds more invisible or hidden aspects of architecture and helps architects serve their clients in a more meaningful way. It raises our “moral responsibility” to safeguard our clients’ well being. With this Feng-Shui knowledge, we can strive to serve our clients beyond the traditional sense of architectural services.
Many symbolic meanings in Feng-Shui involve positive, negative, and elemental energies that interact with one another.Fēng(风) means wind
There are also symbolic representations for these words. Wind represents harm; water represents Qi, wealth, and luck, respectively. Feng-Shui is used to create the most optimal environment for clients to obtain happiness, wealth, and success.
Architecture plays a major role within the relationship between energy and physical space. The definition of architecture in relation to the definition of feng-shui in architecture, the physical environment made visible, sensible, prosperous, harmonious, and balanced. Used as a tool, a concept, and philosophy in creating the best suitable environment for ourselves.
Human beings sooner or later will leave this world. God only promised a safe landing but never promised a smooth flight. We should use the knowledge of Feng-Shui (wind & water) to enhance our Qi (life’s energy), so we might achieve a stable, balanced, peaceful, harmonious and prosperous life so that our flight through life will be smooth.
In order to understand Feng-Shui, which is the manifestation of physical evidence in the Chinese civilization, we must understand the essence of Chinese people and their culture. The Chinese are very pragmatic people because of the unique living conditions of its ancient times, such as the Yellow River's annual flooding. The Chinese are always in a state of changes or transitions which is the basic concept of the relative value system, which means nothing is permanent, unchanged, or absolute. The Feng-Shui theory talks about how to achieve a balanced, harmonious, and prosperous condition in this constantly changing and dynamic world. Therefore, the Yin & Yang concept is the basis of Chinese culture.
The Chinese believe there are five factors that control our lives, which are fate, luck, Feng-Shui, good deeds, education, and diligence. Fate and luck are beyond our control, which we call heaven's factors. Feng-Shui is called an earth factor, which we can learn to master. Doing good deeds, diligence and education are called human factors that we control ourselves. If we can control three out of five factors, don't you think we can achieve a better life? Feng-Shui is the extra edge we can possess by learning.
The concept of Feng-Shui begins with showing respect and love towards our parents by providing a good and peaceful burial site, which is how Feng-Shui really started. The first written work of Feng-Shui appeared in “Sun-Sue”, the first written book in China which was approximately written in 1000 BC. In the Han Dynasty (approximately 100 BC), master Blue Bird wrote The Bible of Bury. This book is considered the first book is written in Feng-Shui. In the Jin Dynasty (approximately 100 A.AD master Pu Kuo, considered the most important Feng-Shui master, was the author of The Book of Bury. The Sung Dynasty (approximately 1000 AD) was the high period of Feng-Shui development.
Lots of books were written which were very popular in the society, which in turn, made even the emperors Feng-Shui masters. However, when the Feng-Shui development mixed with superstition and Taoism dogmas in the Qing Dynasty (approximately 1700 AD), Feng-Shui became a mystic, superstitious, and despised by intellectuals, but was still popular among the average people. We now, in the 21st century, have globalization and the Internet, but still, our world is getting very small. The eastern culture is no longer as mystic or as far as we think. The communication and understanding of the eastern and western cultures are actually essential in today's world. We will take off the mystic facade of Feng-Shui and re-discover its essence and true face.
There are two types of Feng-Shui. One is Yin Feng-Shui, dealing with the dead and burial sites. The other is Yang Feng-Shui, dealing with the living and shelters. There are basically three schools; one is Form School, dealing with the environment, orientation, size, scale, and proportion very much like today's architectural concerns. Second, is the Compass School dealing with direction and dealing with Chi (life’s energy, force). The third school is the Floating Stars School, which adds to the time factor. Different times will have a different impact on the cosmic Qi. This is the higher level of studying the invisible dimensions.
As I mentioned before, the Feng-Shui theory is based on the concept of two opposites, responding and complementary forces (Yin & Yang) that always maintain a dynamically balanced condition. Because we have a balanced and harmonious living environment, we can be relaxed, calm, and have peace of mind, therefore helping us plan and accomplish our goals. The ideal living environment from Feng-Shui's point of view is stability, elegance, brightness, and cleanliness and to convey the impression of prosperity and everlasting. Also, a very important concept is that Feng-Shui considers everything “interacting” and “interconnected” and should be treated as a partnership. In order to achieve the most suitable living environment, all the factors such as indoor and outdoor, furniture and colors, building and plants, visible and invisible factors, etc. shall be considered and be taken care of.
The tools to remedy Feng-Shui issues are five agents (elements or phrases), which the Chinese believe these five elements to be the fundamentals of the universe, composing everything we know such as the human body, plants, mountains, etc. They are Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth. There are three different relationships among these five agents. One is the productive cycle: i.e., generating and nourishing relationships. Second is the reductive cycle meaning remedy or exhaustion of one agent's energy. Last, is the destructive cycle; i.e., control or destruction. To understand and memorize these three cycles for the five agents is a must for the Feng-Shui practice. Also, these five agents correspond to eight orientations/ directions as follows:Metal | West, Northwest
Elements not only have direction, but color that leaves a direct influence on Qi. Surprising enough, color has more influence than the material itself. When deciding on a color for a new dining table, think more about the shape and color of the table than the material itself.Metal | White, Silver
Don't forget, the Feng-Shui practice is for “humans” i.e., “you, the resident” therefore, to understand your own life group is important. Based on the "compass school", you can find out your own life number by calculating your birth year. Also, the Chinese divide all human beings to be two groups, the East group, and the West group. The lucky directions of the East group are east, southeast, north, and south. The West group's lucky directions are northwest, west, southwest, and northeast.Male | 11 – [sum of your birth year] = Life Number
After calculating, for example, if you are a 5 then you are either a 2 or an 8. The number 5 is considered the center or middle number. You are a 2 if you are male and an 8 if female.West Life Group | 2, 6, 7, 8, 5
The building or house should sit with its backside facing toward your lucky direction. The front door should be located in the lucky section. The master bedroom should head to the lucky directions. The stove should also face the lucky directions. The study/ office should seat towards the lucky directions as well. All should have a refined solid back i.e., wall at the backside. Feng-Shui masters use “Lo-pan,” a Feng-Shui compass, to help determine the right direction. However, a modern compass can also do the job. Seating is more important than facing.
The eight directions is the so-called Ba-Gua pattern i.e., every space can be divided by a nine grid square formed in eight sections with a center, also called Nine Palaces. Each direction/ section of the Ba-Gua represents a different aspect, which is essential to our life. The southeast represents wealth, the east represents health and family, the northeast represents education, the north represents career, the northwest represents a mentor, the west represents children, the southwest represents marriage, and the south represents fame. If you need a certain aspect in your life to be strengthened, you then need to activate and enhance that particular direction. For example, if you want to have a good marriage, then you need to activate the good Qi at the southwest corner of your house by putting an earth tone wall covering or place a ceramic statue, floor lamp, etc.
The application and practice of Feng-Shui is as follows:
Know your life group and lucky directions.
Life directions need to coincide with the house orientation.
Avoid high or sharp objects facing against your front door.
Staircase should not be directly across from the front door.
Avoid alignment of front and back doors.
Know the concept of holding and retaining Qi/energy.
Brighten the wealth corner or fill it with evergreen.
The evergreen & brightness represents prosperity.
Three major areas in the house need to be paid attention to which is the front door, kitchen & master bedroom.
A protective solid, tall wall behind seating.
The dragon side (left side) needs to be taller, and the tiger side (right).
The Sink shouldn't face the Stovetop i.e., to avoid conflict.
Know your primary and secondary colors. Based on the birth year, you can find out your life number, and then you will know the right colors in which you can enhance you Qi.
Be aware of the symbolic meanings and colors of decorations.
Apply color, five agents, numbers, and directions to remedy difficulty.
Numbering is important, such as, 8, 6, 1, 4 are good numbers. 2 & 5 are not so good. 3 & 7 are neutral and 9 are powerful/ double effect.
Water shall be at the front of the building, not at the back.
The application and practice of Feng-Shui is as follows:
Awareness: aware of your surroundings.
Diagnosis: find out what the difficulty is.
Correction: Fix the difficulty.
Avoidance: Avoid harmful Qi.
Protection: always protect yourself well.
Activation: activate the hidden Qi/ energy to benefit your needs.
Enhancement: enhance current Qi stronger, better.
Containment: hold the good Qi as long as possible.
The application and practice of Feng-Shui is as follows:
Computer age makes us more impatient, self-centered, and lonelier. We are hungry for peace, harmony and a balanced life.
Home office space and meditation space will be in high demand.
The 21st century will be a spiritual century. A shrine corner in every house is becoming of more importance now. Because we are more self-centered, more independent, more insecure, therefore, we need a little more spiritual help to protect us and give us tranquility for our inner space.
Re-understanding or re-discovery of the natural environment's role with our manmade space. They are complimentary and necessary. Landscaping is the protection for a building.
We need to have the total knowledge about living by understanding the Feng-Shui practice, which involves environmental, psychological aesthetic, magnetic, the energy flow and retaining concerns.
In conclusion, Architecture is Feng-Shui. However, Feng-Shui offers more than architecture’s tangible aspects and results. Feng-Shui provides the intangible, invisible aspects, and concerns that we have known all our lives but never paid attention to until the beginning of this century when we’ve finally re-discovered this 5000-year-old wisdom.
Architects should be considered, to some degree, Feng-Shui Masters because they are, in many respects, already trained to think like them. They just require a little extra cultural understanding and assimilation to enhance their capability to safeguard and better serve our client’s general welfare. We need to incorporate Feng-Shui into the architectural curriculum to equip our younger architects with this knowledge so that they might satisfy the client’s total needs. Once the clients realize the comprehensive value that we, architects, and Feng-Shui Masters, can provide to them, their responses will likely be those of respect and loyalty to this holistic approach. We, as modern-day architects, have the moral responsibility to study and understand this re-discovered century-old knowledge of Feng-Shui to serve our clients more comprehensively. Becoming an active Feng-Shui practitioner will enhance our living environment to become more harmonious with the entire universe around us.
How is Feng Shui affecting my life?
Feng Shui is the knowledge that helps us to select the best suitable environment for our living. Therefore to have the basic knowledge about Feng Shui will definitely help us to have a better, harmonious and balanced life.
Why is house located at the “T” intersection of roads not good Feng Shui?
Because theQi (force, energy) is too strong. This strong Qi will harm the inhabitants of the house for a long period of time.
Why do we need to avoid the sharp, vertical items that face against our front door?
Because the sharp, vertical items will generate the harmful Qi (Sha-Qi) to impose, attack to our front door constantly. Front door is one of the most important areas for a house. Therefore, it will impact our health in the long run.
Why does water need to be at front of the house, not at the back of the house?
Because water symbolizes “wealth”; wealth energy need to be at the front so the house can receive the benevolent wealth energy, plus water is considered “weak”, compared with mountain that is “strong” Qi. Therefore water needs to be at front and mountain shall be at the back of the house to provide “strong” back to the house. Plus, water at the front of the house can also cleanse the air quality from the modern physics point of view.
Why does front of the house need to be lower, back of the house need to be higher?
Because lower front allows the benevolent Qi to flow into the house easier. Strong, taller back of the house can support and hold the benevolent Qi better and longer.
Why color is important in Feng Shui practice?
Color is direct link to and manifestation of five elements (Qi) – water, wood, fire, earth, metal, Different color will symbolize the different quality of Qi. Know your own “element” first, then you will know what your primary and secondary colors are so that you can select the right color to enhance your element/Qi.
How important is it to have a right balanced Qi?
Because Feng Shui theory is based on balanced, harmonious Qi, therefore, to achieve a balanced environment is critical for maintaining a benevolent Qi condition. However. Too strong or too weak Qi is not good to your health. “Balanced” Qi is the goal. Once you get balanced Qi condition you can think, plan better. Therefore, you can achieve your goal easier.
How important is the “plant’s role” in Feng Shui practice?
“Evergreen plant” symbolizes the “prosperity.” Therefore, to have live, evergreen plants in the house is important. However, be aware of the “leaf”, For indoor plants, the leaf needs to be broad and round. For outdoor plants, the leaf need to be sharp, pointed, to fence off the Sha-Qi/harmful Qi.
What is the “wealth corner”?
Every house has a wealth corner; every room has a wealth corner. The wealth corner is the diagonal corner from the entrance or door. The wealth corner needs to be clean, bright and prosperous.
Does every house need to have a main color theme?
Yes, every house needs to have a main color theme than can enhance your own “element/Qi”, i.e., if you are a “metal element person” your house’s main colore theme should be earth tone colors. The reason is, “earth Qi” enhances, and generates “metal Qi.” So earth color is your primary color; metal color is your secondary color.
What are the key concerns for a house?
There is no 100% perfect Feng Shui house. Therefore, if you can satisfy three major areas, you will have a good Feng Shui house. The three major areas of Feng Shui concerns are: front door, master bedroom and kitchen.
What is the requirement of having a good front door?
The front door need to be located in your “lucky quadrant” which is calculated from your birthday. Once you know what “element” you are, you will know what are your lucky directions/quadrants; then you will know what your primary and secondary colors are. Your front door’s color should be your primary color if it is not in conflict with the direction color
What is the requirement for the master bedroom?
Master bedroom needs to be at “dragon” side of the house. That should be on your left-hand side if you stand indoors looking out. Tiger side is your right-hand side; it should be your driveway and garage side. Master bedroom should be located in your lucky sections/quadrants. Your head should be toward your lucky directions.
What should we do if husband and wife are different “group” of people that have different /opposite lucky directions as far as the master bedroom is concerned?
The headboard direction is dependent on who is the master of the house, i.e., who is the breadwinner for the household. Also, who will stay in the master bedroom for a longer time. The ideal situation is to have separate rooms for different “group” couple. If it is not possible, then to introduce the “elements of reduction cycle” will balance and remedy the situation.
How about the Kitchen?
Traditionally, the kitchen’s cook top needs to be open toward the housewife’s lucky direction, i.e., when you cook, your back should face to your lucky direction. Also, good kitchen layout is the cook top be well protected. Island cook top is not a good Feng Shui; also cook top and sink shall not be facing each other. Ideal relation is 90 degree relation.
What is the color for each element?
Water; Black, Blue
Fire; Red, Orange, Pink, Purple
Earth; Yellow, Brown, Beige
Metal; White, Gray, Silver, Gold
These colors are actually each element’s secondary color. The primary color for each element should be the color that generates and enhances this particular element; i.e., water generates wood, therefore, wood’s primary color should be water’s color which is black and blue. Green should be wood’s secondary color.