Feng Shui Architecture

Architecture and the 5 Elements

Classical Feng Shui


The forms of nature are not reflected or considered in the majority of modern architecture and town planning. This creates an urban landscape that is unfavourable, with the proportion of curvy, soft, wavy forms in the minority against the hard urban cityscape.

In the surrounding environment, shapes in the landscape whether natural or built correspond to the five element theory:

5 Elements Wood Fire Earth Metal Water
Shape Rectangle Triangle Square Circle Irregular Wavy
Building Shape Tall rectangle Steep Angles Symmetrical Domed Flowing Curves
Roof Shape Tall Steep Angles Flat Domed/Round Flowing Curves
Building Material Wooden Glass Brick/Stone Metal Reflective Surfaces

For a more detailed insight into all the associations of the Five Elements visit this page. Read more about awkward building shapes and how to overcome a missing sector here.


The Wood Element

Shape: Columns and steep vertical sides with a rounded top.
This is a favourable shape as it does not have any protruding edges. An extreme would be a very tall and thin column, which would be associated with instability.

Shape: Tall rectangle
Similar to the square shape, but with 2 elongated sides. It is still quite a balanced shape without any missing areas, this depends on the length of the longest rectangle side, as extremes would be unbalanced. Rectangles that are long and narrow can make the occupants feel pressurised. Sky scrapers are a good example of a Wood shaped building.

Suitable for students. Good building shape for schools, offices, local council and government offices.

The Fire Element

Shape: Triangles and sharp peaks
A difficult shape that is usually only found on the roof e.g. spires and steeples. This type of building shape, even if just the roof will dominate the whole property. Associated with power and a position of strength, the Fire element is known for accidents, aggression, unpredictability and quarrels.

Rooms with a triangle shape will usually have the door facing into a 45 degree or more point, which as you can imagine makes them very uncomfortable to spend time in. It would be like half of the room had closed in you with a claustrophobic feeling. In extreme cases the doors are positioned along one of the other walls, which creates an even more lack of stability with odd and irregular angles.

Shape: Pyramids
An unfavourable building/room shape. Buildings are not usually shaped like a pyramid as they would be uncomfortable to work in.

Shape: Hexagons and octagons
These shapes are not typical for rooms or buildings, however some buildings do have awkward angles, which on a grand scale can be very uncomfortable to live or work in.

Good business building shape for spiritual purposes, and those working in creative arts, such as visual artists, designers, entertainers, performers and high-flyers like stock brokers.

The Earth Element

Shape: Squares
Earth building shapes have vertical slopes and a flat top. Known in Feng Shui as complete balance when all four sides are equal without any missing areas. This shape is stable, solid and grounded. Square buildings are usually the easiest to find your way around, without any awkward corners or protruding extensions.

Shape: Low or long rectangles
Earth building shapes have vertical sides and a flat top. Caveat is that if the sides are in a high proportion compared to the flat top, this creates a column shape which is the Wood element.

Good for living in, the ideal shape as it promotes longevity, stability, security and the ability to settle. A good building shape for businesses that use the soil; estate agents, architecture, interior designers, garden landscaping, construction, town planning etc. Also suitable for banks and offices where the business activity requires stability and grounding.

The Metal Element

Shape: Circles
Without sharp or protruding edges, this is seen as a favourable shape however round buildings can be intense and unstable (same effect as a wind tunnel, but circular). There are no visible corners in a rounded building or room, which can make you restless, lose focus, day dream and can be full of arguments. The shape causes constant movement and flow, which creates a lack of stability and an inability to settle, not suited to a home. The Metal element can be semi circles, domes, arches and spheres, the shape doesn’t have to be an exact circle.

Shape: Ovals
As with the circle, no sharp edges are beneficial. This is less severe than the circle, as it is elongated, or with a soft bend like a kidney bowl. Have a look at your local cinema foyer, sports stadium, concert hall or theatre, as they usually have circular or oval shapes. This helps people gather together and encourages them to unite.

Shape: Rounded
A building with soft rounded sloping sides and a rounded top. This is a more yin version of circles and rounded buildings. The constant flow is to a lesser degree.

Unsuitable for living in. Good for fast moving business activities such as libraries, restaurants, sports stadium, concert halls, cinemas, theatres, casinos and malls. Suitable for businesses where the customers visit the premises, coming and going throughout the day/night.

The Water Element

Shape: Curvilinear, linear curves, soft curves and wavy lines
Think of water being fluid and constantly moving, creating irregular curvy shapes and slopes. Any building shape that has a dominant curve or undulating curves whether in structure or glass would fall into this category. The degree of curve can create a yang water or yin water building. Architects use curves to speed up the pace of users or to encourage constant movement e.g. shopping centres, exhibition halls etc. As with the Metal element there is a lot of movement in wavy building and room shapes, which creates more instability and change due to the irregular wavy shape.

Unsuitable for living in and for most office environments. Good for temporary business rentals such as holiday lettings, art exhibitions and hiring by the hour or day. Good for fast moving business activities such as airport terminals.

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