It is often said that good design is also good Feng Shui. Generally speaking, I totally agree. However, Feng Shui principles of how ch'i moves in and around a building, and what kind of effect that has on people, will sometimes be in conflict with interesting architecture or landscape.
1. Does symmetry = balance? I have seen many floor plans where the architect deliberately placed doorways or windows directly opposite each other. Sometimes there is a whole succession of windows along a wall, and the opposite wall will be a mirror image. I have seen entrances or exterior facades where columns, hedges, and pathways create long straight lines toward a main door. In looking at these designs, the symmetry is obvious. But from a Feng Shui stand point, this is not necessarily harmonious or balanced. Think about nature, and winding meandering paths through gardens, and groupings in odd numbers. This is very different than the perfect pairing of windows, doors, or other architectural features. Two windows exactly opposite each other may feel like balance through symmetry from a designer's training. But this arrangement allows for ch'i (air currents) to either move too quickly through a room and/or the room leaks its vitality too soon.
2. High ceilings: A room may feel dramatic and larger (intended effect) when the ceilings are high. Most people initially feel good in this kind of room. But the function of the room will determine the appropriateness of high ceilings in Feng Shui theory. It may be hard to concentrate in a room with high ceilings, and it may be difficult to get good sleep as well. Sometimes the good energies which need to be cozy and contained in a small room, will get dissipated in a room with high ceilings.
3. Beams: The look of exposed beams can also bring personality to a room from a design point. But open beams in a bedroom are known to cause health and relationship problems in Feng Shui theory (in all schools of Feng Shui.)
4.Views from front to back: A major selling feature in many homes is to create a spectacular view from the entrance, all the way through to the back (showing a garden, or views of a valley or ocean.) But this is not the home you will sell to an adherent of Feng Shui. Once again, the premise is that incoming energy will make a bee-line for the back, escaping too quickly. The mundane result of a house losing its energy is that the occupants will have a hard time saving their money.
5. Angles and odd shapes: When a building or a single room has an odd shape, (not a square or rectangle) this can make the ch'i boomerang around the room, causing lack of focus, ill health, or arguments. I have often been in very odd-shaped buildings or houses, where the real orientation (of what is the front and what is the back) is also very confusing.
Just because a building looks striking from afar doesn't mean it is a comfortable place to work in. I once saw the design for a new building by some famous architect and it honestly looked like a crumpled piece of paper! This can't possibly be good Feng Shui.
**Keep in mind: there are some buildings which get classified as being good for money, but not good for health and relationships. The ideal is to create a building that is good for both, but given a choice, the priority should be more in favor of people over money.
6. Staircases: Sometimes the design of a grand, swirling staircase can make a huge statement for the room or entrance. But energetically, a staircase is a conduit for energy. It will swirl and activate whatever it is around. If the stairs are located in a positive section of a building, they can make it even more positive. If they happen to be in a bad location, then the movement they stir up will only further irritate the area. This can only be understood by Feng Shui practitioners who can calculate the "unseen" influences.
7.Aesthetics: Sometimes a home or commercial property just looks and feels great, and all the visual features are in sync with good Feng Shui principles as well. But every structure has been built facing a particular compass degree, and within a certain time frame, and those two coordinates may produce a house-type that can attract tremendous misfortune, even though it "looks" good. This is the level of Feng Shui that architects find most startling. How could it be that their gorgeous new home can create lawsuits? Or miscarriage? Or accidents? Or divorce?
The good news is that more and more architects are considering working with Feng Shui practitioners, so that the blending of their talents can truly create a superior space-- visually, functionally and energetically.
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