May 24, 2019
Latest News

Dragon gates and more: how Feng Shui affects Hong Kong's architecture

By Mar Sanchez-Cascado

Hong Kong, May 16 (efe-epa).- Massive holes known as dragon gates appear in the middle of Hong Kong's towering skyscrapers, designed according to Feng Shui to allow the mythical flying beasts to pass every day on the way from their abodes in the mountains to reach the sea.

Apart from humongous modern buildings of glass and steel, the eclectic Hong Kong skyline is dotted with innumerable apartment blocks, which are divided into some of the smallest living spaces in the world.

While many skyscrapers have to make do with small and limited boundaries and climb as high as possible to make optimum use of space, others choose to incorporate these curious massive voids in their design, with the reason rooted in the ancient Chinese code of living Feng Shui.

Apart from dragons, air and the positive energy "qi" are also meant to pass through the holes.

"These holes, called dragon gates, serve to give way to these powerful, auspicious creatures who come down from the mountains, who love water, who breathe energy, and who are to be venerated. If their passage is blocked, bad luck will fall on any building that stands in their way," RD Ching, a Feng Shui master, teacher, architect and interior designer, told EFE.

Often known as "geomancy," the practice of this philosophy involves the meticulous use of its five elements – wood, fire, earth, metal and water – in order to allow positive energy to flow around a particular space.

Together, this forms a part of the ancient Chinese tradition of arranging objects and buildings in harmony with nature to attract good fortune.

"For this reason, professionals of this Taoist geomatic art consult us for everything from the purchase of new homes and office plans, to the enormous architectural and engineering projects," said Ching.

He said the system was a "straightforward tool" to help people find the balance known as the Chinese concept of Yin and Yang.

"There are many factors to determine the qi (or chi) energy of a situation. It is the way for humanity to try to understand our place in the Universe," he added.

A good example of Feng Shui in practice is the HSBC Tower, designed by the prestigious British architecture studio Foster and Partners after extensive consultation with Feng Shui masters.

Instead of a ground floor, the building incorporates a high open atrium meant to bring in wind and the qi energy.

The escalators in the atrium are positioned at a certain angle to the entrance, ostensibly blocking stray evil spirits from flowing upwards inside the building.

Moreover, a couple of bronze lions guard the entrance, symbolizing wealth and prosperity.

As the bank has not done too badly for itself in business, some local residents like to touch the legs and noses of the lions, hoping that some of the good fortune would rub off on them.

Once the construction of the nearby Bank of China Building was finished, the HSBC Tower reportedly added two gun-like structures on its roof to divert the "negative energy" emanating from the rival bank.

The imperious Bank of China Building has been designed by famous architect IM Pei, and its triangular prism shape, imitating the elegance of a bamboo shoot, has become one of the biggest symbols of the city's structural expression.

However, the prism shape goes against the practices of Feng Shui, as the sharp edges are supposed to "cut" qi and emit negative energies towards nearby buildings.

During its construction, a series of unfortunate incidents also added fuel to the local superstitions surrounding its negative Feng Shui, such as the financial collapse of the original owner of the nearby Lippo Centre and the death of the governor of Hong Kong.

After receiving criticism from the public, some measures were taken to rectify the structure, such as adding a small waterfall and vegetation besides the structure along with giant rocks imported from mainland China, representing harmony, prosperity and stability.

Inaugurated in 1980, the 64-story Hopewell Centre was the tallest building in the city before being surpassed by the Bank of China's skyscraper a decade later.

After consulting a Feng Shui master, a circular swimming pool was added to its roof because it was believed that the thin cylindrical form of the building looked too much like a candle or a burning cigarette, which carry negative connotations such as fire and death in Chinese culture.

Similarly, hundreds of skyscrapers in Hong Kong incorporate massive holes and follow the rules of Feng Shui, with the owners aiming to ensure that dragons and the qi energy are able to pass freely and reach the sea.

msc/ia/dl

News history
Mexico's plans for embattled energy sector spark criticism

Eduard Ribas i Admetlla

Champions final to generate 123 million euros, 66 million will stay in Madrid

Madrid, May 24 (efe-epa).- The UEFA Champions League final between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid will...

Experts stress using digital tools to make Colombian companies more dynamic

Cali, Colombia, May 23 (efe-epa).- Increasing human beings' use of digital tools is the vehicle whereby Colombia's business sector will develop, several...

Trump pledges another $16 bn for farmers hurt by Chinese tariffs

Washington, May 23 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump on Thursday approved a second aid package for US farmers, this one for $16 billion, with the aim of...

China, Brazil agree to boost trade, cooperation

Beijing, May 23 (efe-epa).- The vice presidents of China and Brazil presided here Thursday over the fifth gathering of the Sino-Brazilian High-Level...

Israel blockades stem exports from Gaza

By Laura Fernández Palomo

ECB officials warned Eurozone economy may not rebound as expected

By Tom Fairless

Xi pushes for innovation so that China wins the new technological Cold War

By Jesus Centeno

FAA's acting chief won't predict when Boeing 737 MAX will return to flight

By Andy Pasztor

Deutsche Bank CEO signals more cuts to investment bank

By Jenny Strasburg

Carlos Ghosn attends first preliminary hearing in Tokyo ahead of trial

Tokyo, May 23 (efe-epa).- The former head of Nissan and Renault on Thursday attended the first preliminary hearing ahead of his trial, as his defense team...

Massive seaweed influx in Cancun's hotel zone

Cancun, Mexico, May 22 (efe-epa).- The hotel zone along the beaches in the Mexican resort city of Cancun on Wednesday experienced a massive influx of...

Journalism in digital age must rethink how to reach its audience

By Gina Baldivieso

Geneva, May 22 (efe-epa).- Venezuela's health minister said here Wednesday that economic sanctions imposed by Washington are to blame for shortages of...

Bucking US sanctions, American Airlines expands flights to Cuba

Havana, May 22 (efe-epa).- American Airlines, the leading international carrier serving Cuba, said Wednesday that it intends to offer additional flights to...

The UK's British Steel begins insolvency proceedings

London, May 22 (efe-epa).- British Steel Ltd., the United Kingdom's second-largest steelmaker, has started insolvency proceedings after the country's High...

Rare earths emerge as China's possible trump card in trade war against US

Jesus Centeno

India's antitrust watchdog surveys e-commerce firms including Amazon, Walmart

New Delhi, May 22 (efe-epa).- India's antitrust watchdog is assessing the domestic e-commerce sector, a step that could have consequences for Amazon.com...

Internal review reveals sexual assault cases in New Zealand parliament

Sydney, Australia, May 22 (efe-epa).- The New Zealand parliament on Wednesday admitted that at least three cases of serious sexual assault had taken place...

UN forecasts global economy to grow 2.7 pct. in 2019, 2.9 pct. in 2020

United Nations, May 21 (efe-epa).- The United Nations on Tuesday downgraded its forecast for world economic growth, announcing that it expects overall...

Plastic waste being made into ecologically friendly houses in western Mexico

By Mariana Gonzalez

Dr. AI comes to aid of China’s ailing healthcare

By Paula Escalada Medrano

Italian airline Alitalia cancels more than 280 flights due to strike

Rome, May 21 (efe-epa).- Italian airline Alitalia has canceled more than 280 flights on Tuesday amid a national 24-hour strike called by air sector unions.

US plans temporary exemptions to Huawei blacklist

By John D. McKinnon in Washington, Dan Strumpf in Hong Kong and Yoko Kubota in Beijing.

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.