Recently, I talked about the role of Feng Shui in architecture and how this ancient Chinese philosophy can be used to create beautiful, functional and harmonious living spaces. The principles of Feng Shui are complex and it is impossible to fully describe and understand this way of thinking in a just a few posts. What we can do though is discuss how Feng Shui can be integrated into different aspects of the architectural design process if these values are important to you.
Feng Shui is all about harmony and balance and creating a balanced energy flow within our environment. This energy, or chi, permeates everything around you and is vital for maintaining physical, environmental and emotional balance. So when it comes to your home, the main goal of Feng Shui is to direct the chi inside your home so that it supports positive chi within you.
Architects are perfectly positioned to take on Feng Shui principles to create a home with positive chi. Let’s delve a little further into this ancient art and consider those attributes that make for a design with good Feng Shui starting with floor plans.
Geometry and symmetry are key words when it comes to Feng Shui; unsurprisingly, the perfect Feng Shui house shape is square. A square is balanced, symmetrical, free of missing corners and once doors and windows are appropriately placed, allows for desirable energy flow throughout.
Rectangular shaped houses also allow for good Feng Shui to be created although care must be taken to avoid long, narrow hallways as this can enable fast movement of chi throughout the house which is not ideal. However, rectangles are easy shapes to work with and by the clever placement of doors, windows and half-walls as well as the use of natural fibres, energy flow can be managed.
Circle shaped homes also benefit from not having missing corners which enables positive energy flow so is another option for creating good Feng Shui. It is worth nothing though, that circles encourage chi to circulate constantly creating a high energy space which may be too busy for some people to comfortably live within.
Irregular shapes, such as triangles or L-shapes, block energy flow so are not ideal for creating positive chi although there are a number of ‘cures’ that can be utilised to improve the space. Making use of the Bagua Chart is the ideal way to determine what shaped house will create the best chi and space for you.
Moving onto room placement and layout, there are many complex rules that must be considered to ensure the perfect energy flow. Open plan designs, especially with high ceilings, often create good Feng Shui. Ideally, the kitchen should be located towards the back of the house and linked to a well defined dining space. Also linked to the kitchen, the living area is the epicentre of the house and should be large for family and entertaining activities.
Bedrooms are places of rest and relaxation and are therefore best located away from the main activity of the house. There are a few rules with bedroom placement that must be adhered to for ideal energy flow. Bedrooms should not be located over a garage, office, kitchen or directly across from a staircase. They should not be connected to a home office as this is a high energy space which conflicts with the chi required for sleep. A laundry should never be beside a bedroom due to conflict between Feng Shui forces of water and wind. A bedroom on a lower floor should never be placed directly underneath an upper floor bedroom as it creates energy flow havoc. And when it comes to an ensuite or closet, never position these on the same wall as the bed.
In multi-storey houses, staircases can interfere with the natural flow of chi so these are best positioned on outer walls of the house. Staircases should also be wide and gracefully curve in a clockwise motion. They should not be aligned with the front door in particular and landings should also not face any doors. Ideally, stairs should be constructed of wood and not be an open tread design as this can destabilise energy flow.
There is absolutely no doubt that Feng Shui is complex but there are many ways to draw on the principles to create a home with a positive energy and feel. If the philosophy is important to you, a good architect can design a floor plan using the above rules as a guide but also use their experience to create a home that is harmonious within the local environment and also meet your functionality needs.
At Craig Dinte Architects, our team loves nothing more than creating the perfect space and one with good Feng Shui, well that’s a challenge we’d love to explore with you.