Talks on Feng Shui with Dr. Hsu
13: Feng Shui and Architecture
In my first article, I mentioned that Feng Shui is about the knowledge and wisdom of living environmental design.
In modern times, environmental design, whether if it’s a commercial building, or house or other spaces, is the job of architects. What role is there for Feng Shui? Do Feng Shui practitioners have anything of value to add?
In any approach to design, whether by architects or Feng Shui designers there are objective and subjective factors. These include the macro factor such as geography, climate and culture. The micro factor includes building systems and methods, materials, government regulations and personal factors, such as life-styles of the users, budget, and so on.
Historically, most architects see the environment and building design from a matter level. From the point of view of Feng Shui, the environment and building is not only a physical body, but also an energy body (chi-energy) and an information carrier. Chi-energy can directly affect the success or failure of a business as well as the health, relationships and career of the residents.
Throughout history, the goal for architects has been to make buildings that are functional, economical, and beautiful. Of these criteria, the easiest to assess is the economic side: it is based on observable and measurable factors – the cost of the building, and the cost of maintenance.
Beauty is more difficult to assess. This is because people might have different points of view. There are many modern buildings that are very unusual, and draw attention when they first appear, but many soon are ignored. On the other hand, some buildings have been around for hundreds of years and are still appreciated. So a good building design should have lasting beauty.
In term of functionality, from the architect’s point of view, a building is functional when it meets the requirements and specifications of the client. From the Feng Shui point of view, however, “functional” means the extent to which the building supports the success of a business, the health and harmony of a family, and in general the well-being of those who live or work there.
Architects do not agree with this point of view. They think that the success of a business depends only on the management: marketing, leadership, and so on. It has nothing to do with the building. In the same way, they suppose that the well-being of a family is due to the actions of the family members, and has nothing to do with their house. They deny any responsibility for the effect of the building on those in it.
However, over long observation and experience, Feng Shui has come to recognize the close relationship between the structure and design of a building and those who live or work in it. Feng Shui recognizes that the effect of a structure depends on Chi energy factors. Chi has a higher-order impact.
An experienced Feng Shui practitioner can often look at a house and predict the success or failure of a business or a family, since all buildings carry energy and information, both of which have a higher-order impact on those whose live in the buildings.