This article appeared in The Vancouver Sun on June 1, 2002
When a modern new skyscraper goes up in Taiwan, the owners always hire a feng-shui geomancer or xiansheng to create the best position for the main entrance. Over the years, several major new buildings in downtown Taipei have remained unoccupied and their owners have gone broke because they failed to follow the dictates of Chinese geomancy during construction.
Geomancy (feng-shui) is the branch of classical cosmology, which gives a blue print for us to build our homes in splendid harmony with the elements of our natural environment. The Chinese exponents of Feng-Shui believe that where you live and how you allocate and arrange the elements of your home or workplace can significantly affect the harmony of your health, wealth, and happiness.
If you acknowledge and understand the all-pervasive life energy (Chi), you can affect the whole tenor of your well-being. Simple things like placing your furniture the wrong way, using wrong colours, and elemental conflicts (i.e. having the water 'refrigerator' next to the fire 'stove', can create factors that impact negatively on your life.
The xiansheng considers four factors: the Chi or "breath of life" potential of the neighborhood; the site orientation or the importance of the direction in which the building faces; the five elements -- fire, water, wood, metal, earth -- and their mutual influence upon a location; the power of water and its significance in relation to the property.
While feng-shui is thousands of years old and has seemingly strange rules, it contains much common sense useful to understand by anyone. For example, Feng-Shui proposes that the best site for a home that will take advantage of the vital Chi is for that home to be on a south-facing slope - preferably between two hills of unequal size (the Azure Dragon and the White Tiger). Ideally, a river will be running along one side of the structure. The river should then turn in front of the building and then disappear.
Looked at another way, such a home on the south slope gets the maximum hours of sunlight, is shielded from the chilly, health-sapping north wind and has a good supply of water for drinking and cleaning. By then conveniently disappearing under the ground and gravel, the river carries away effluents and other "dirty" water.
So, just plain old common sense. Any BC builder will find it extremely useful - even necessary - to understand these concepts.
Some of the basic concepts as they relate to real estate are:
Fortunately (You knew it!) there are ways to rectify defects even if the defect is in the terrain. For example:
If the left is too low, plant trees to raise the height. If your neighbor builds a house higher than yours, add to the height of yours so your view of the stars in not obstructed. (Of course, you may have a problem with City Hall). If the plot is triangular, placing the door on the side of the triangle rather than on the point will counter the ill-omen. In properties which back onto a river or if the ground slopes upward from the front of a building, the entrance must be at the rear of allow Chi to gain entrance.
The Chinese also believe that a house with a front slightly lower than the back is useful in dispersing the influence of Sha. A pool of water (fishpond) is especially useful to conserve Chi. However, a large tree immediately opposite the front door is ill-omened as it d Sharp angles can be especially unlucky on an office or commercial building as these angles and straight edges drive off money, whereas curves attract money. Then again, the flat edges of buildings, which lead toward the front of your property, are fine conductors of Chi. But then again, if there is a road in front of the place, which turns at a sharp angle, this can bring about the same unhappy effect as a "secret arrow". To counter this, a driveway leading up to a front door should always approach in a gentle sweep to help the entrance of wealth.
Superstition? It really doesn't matter. What does matter is that if you are a builder it behooves you to know Feng-Shui as it relates to building. Whether you believe in it or not, feng-shui is seen by millions as an ancient science full of philosophy and practical wisdom.
If you drive through a predominantly Asian neighborhood and you find an empty lot in an otherwise fully developed cul-de-sac, you now know why. Bad fortune comes along the street and hits the last house in the cul-de-sac. Who would want to live there?
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