Architecturally, the essence of every building form is a basic shape, which in feng shui can be associated with one of the five elements. These shapes are the square or cube, which represents the element of earth, the rectangle which signifies wood, the circle or sphere which suggests the metal element, the wave or curvilinear form which symbolizes water and the pyramid or triangle shape which always signifies the fire element.
The element of any building can thus be adduced to one of the five basic elements and using this information, it is possible to use these shapes to incorporate subtle yet effective feng shui harmony into buildings.
Triangle – Fire
The incorporation of intercrossing structural frames at the Bank of China building, in Hong Kong, with its pyramidal form suggests that the overall design concept portrays a triangular theme both in elevation and form. It is not a direct symbol of the pyramid, but the massing model the building adopts appears to be a direct adaptation of the pyramidal form. This translates into the element of fire. Although constructed out of glass, concrete and steel, the element energy of this building is dominantly fire.
For such a building the ideal sitting location should be South, the sector of fire. Thus the best orientation would be a North-South axis, with the building facing North and sitting South. Another alternative location would be for the building to sit East or Southeast, so the wood element would then feed the building’s fire element. This will enhance the luck of the building.
Element Shapes can also be used as a means of enhancing or exhausting certain sectors based on either Flying Star combinations or the 8 Mansions formula. For instance, if a particular sector is afflicted by a set of Flying Star combinations that require yin fire energy, instead of using yang fire such as lights, you can use the symbol of fire energy such as a triangular shaped pyramid.
Similarly, if the sector is South, such predominant features are excellent for enhancing fame and opportunity luck. The pyramid is a powerful symbol as it is the only symbol with a key central point around which all energy revolves, from base to apex.
The square shaped building which signifies the earth element is an authoritative design with seeming dominance over the skies. This is considered an ideal shape for corporate offices and banks. The uniformity of the design describes a non-nonsense perception of the industry. It easily becomes a symbol of corporate stature.
With an earth element base, the ideal building material for this building would be solid earth-based materials such as granite and marble. These offer strong earth energy, which benefits the luck of the building.
The earth-based building can be exceptionally lucky during the period of 8 if it can tap the facing and sitting directions SW/NE – these are the two directions that are in sync with this building and also with the current period of 8. Sitting or facing Southwest or Northeast, the building then taps the earth elements as SW and NE are earth directions.
Circular shapes need not physically resemble a sphere. All that’s required is a suggestion of curves within the overall building concept. Circular buildings tend to offer a stable foundation design concept with semi-circular or circular design features integrated into the overall design. The use of glass and steel are beneficial here, as they provide earth and metal energy to enhance the luck of the building.
Such buildings are excellent sitting West or Northwest, so facing East and Southeast.
Curvelinear - Water
Similar to circular buildings form, curvilinear buildings adopt a prominent curve form that extends throughout the building design. This gives the powerful statement of a visual ‘wave’. Curvilinear building forms are efficient for creating the flow of speed. This concept is beneficial for buildings which want to create high people turnover such as shopping malls or exhibition centers. Avoid it for offices or residential usage.
The curvilinear form symbolizes the element of water, an element that is in constant movement. The use of curvilinear forms in public service arenas helps accentuate the concept of high turnover. In office or residential locations, it symbolizes constant turnover of tenants or residents, so is not advisable.
A good axis of orientation for a water element building is for it to face South and sit North. As for building materials, the water based element requires plenty of metal energy to strengthen the water element of the building. So a full steel-based “look” would be beneficial.
Rectangle - Wood
The most popular of high-rise building shapes is the rectangle. Symbolized by the element of wood, such buildings offer the perspective of stature. Rectangular-shaped buildings should not let glass and concrete dominate, but instead should incorporate wood or water element energy.
The use of blue-tinted glass which represents water energy is one idea. Using a “wood” look is another excellent idea. Orientation-wise, the best is for the building to sit East, Southeast or North.
The following article is taken from the "Feng Shui World (January/February 2007)". To subscribe, please click here.