Archives for April 2016

Feng Shui – Between Space and Place


Tent Under the Milky Way

How can we not say “WOW” when we encounter such a beautiful view of our Universe?  From the picture above it seems that someone decided to make that view and that space their place.  Not only do we call this awesome, but it exudes an ambiance beyond imagination. Practitioners of the Chinese form of Geomancy would attribute this feeling to the place’s feng shui, or “wind and water.”

In his series of books, The Nature of Order, an Essay on the Art of Building and the Nature of the Universe, Christopher Alexander introduces the concept of the living structure.  He bases it upon his theories of centers and wholeness, and defines the 15 properties from which, according to his observations, all wholeness is built.  Alexander argues that a living structure is both personal and structural.  It has meaning to us as well as a function.

Alexander spent hours a day over a 20 year period looking and finding properties in things that do have life such as buildings, tiles, stones, windows, carpet, figures, carvings of flowers, paths, doorways, arches, grates, furniture, streets, paintings, furniture, freiezes and like Alexander, asking yourself – “Which ones have more life?” Then ask yourself – “What are the common features of the examples that have most life?”

In this series of blog posts I plan to share with you the 15 properties from which all wholeness is built.  I also will have guest bloggers, some of the other Masters in the school, write about the properties that resonate with them.  The following represent the 15 properties and will be detailed in subsequent entries:

I challenge our readers to seek out and identify these properties within your own community applying the questions to each.

  1. Levels of Scale
  2. Strong Centers
  3. Boundaries
  4. Alternating Repetition
  5. Positive Space
  6. Good Shape
  7. Local Symmetries
  8. Deep Interlock and Ambiguity
  9. Contrast
  10. Gradients
  11. Roughness
  12. Echoes
  13. The Void
  14. Simplicity and Inner Calm
  15. Not Separateness

Check back to this series of blog posts on Space and Place to help you decipher this scavenger hunt in nature.