The Feng Shui Skyscrapers of Hong Kong

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In Hong Kong, a city with one of the most beautiful skyline, the plan and design of a building is determined as much as by architects and engineers as by feng shui masters. This ancient Chinese philosophy of positioning objects and buildings in harmony with nature to bring about good fortune, is deeply rooted in Hong Kong’s culture. Everything from the orientation of a building, the shape of the building, the position of the entrance and position of furniture within are believed to influence the prosperity of a business or the homeowner. Because of this belief, feng shui practitioners are consulted in almost every new home purchase and office floor plans, and even enormous architectural and engineering projects around this island nation are dictated to a large degree by feng shui. It’s not apparent but examples of feng shui practice are almost everywhere in Hong Kong.

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Why do these buildings have holes in the middle? Keep reading for the answer. Photo credit: shottapaul/Flickr

Feng shui was suppressed in mainland China during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s but has made a dramatic revival in recent years, especially in the superstitious South. Even in modern Central, where feng shui is regarded as superstition, most developers still consult feng shui experts because they figure it's better to be safe than sorry. Indeed, many corporations set aside a portion of their annual budget for feng shui consultation. Some of the suggestions that feng shui experts offer can be as simple as repositioning the desk of the CEO or placing coins under the carpet. Others can be as expensive as demolishing and reconstructing parts of the building.

When the famous HSBC headquarters with two bronze lions sitting in front were built in the mid-1980s, the escalators were reoriented from their original straight position to an angle with the entrance to prevent evil spirits from flowing straight off the Victoria Harbor and into the office.

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The HSBC building in Hong Kong. Photo credit: Ishak J/Flickr

The Bank of China Tower, on the other hand, neglected good feng shui practices and is now considered so unlucky that it sits empty most of the year. The tower with its many sharp edges is also said to be leaking its negative energy to its surrounding businesses. The owner of the Lippo Centre, which faces one of the building’s edges, went bankrupt and had to sell the building. Similarly, the Government House, which also faces one of the angles of the Bank of China Tower, had its share of troubles.

To prevent such misfortunes from befalling HSBC, the bank had two cannon-like structures installed at the top of their building. These cannons, which are pointed towards the Bank of China building, supposedly protects HSBC from the dreaded Bank of China Tower’s negative energy by deflecting the energy back to its source.

Hong Kong’s growth in recent years has been attributed to good feng shui. Its geographical location with the mountains behind and waters in front is said to be excellent in accordance to feng shui principles. Legend holds that these mountains are home to the dragons that are said to be the bearer of positive and powerful energy. This energy blows through Hong Kong as the dragons make their way from the mountains to the sea to drink and bathe.

This explains why many buildings along the waterline have gaping holes in the middle. These holes provide the dragons an unobstructed path to the water, so that the winds of positive energy continue to flow through the city.

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The “dragon hole” of The Repulse Bay building in Hong Kong. Photo credit: Paul Griffin/Flickr

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Photo credit: See-ming Lee/Flickr

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Photo credit: See-ming Lee/Flickr

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From left to right: Bank of China Tower, Cheung Kong Center, HSBC Tower. Photo credit: Kirill ΞΚ Voloshin/Flickr

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The two negative energy deflecting cannons at the top of HSBC building. Photo credit: Tom Mascardo/Flickr

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Another view of the cannons. Photo credit: Tim Lam/Flickr

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The Lippo Center, a victim of Bank of China Tower’s bad feng shui. Photo credit: Hans Hansson/Flickr

Sources: NY Times / Discover Hong Kong / A Passport Affair / Wall Street Journal Blog

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