I occasionally offer feng shui walks of downtown Honolulu. In the walks, I discuss (mostly) the relationships of the buildings to each other—are they making poison arrows at neighboring buildings. I also discuss the elements of the individual buildings—it’s a valuable skill to learn. It takes practice to develop the skill, and I’ve had lots of it and like to share the knowledge with other people. If you’re ever on Oahu around Chinese New Year, it’s likely that I’ll be giving one of these walks. (The walks are free, but it’s best to contact me in advance if you want to attend.)
In this series of articles, I won’t discuss the relationships of the buildings to each other. That discussion is best done in person and on site. Not even a video is going to really show you the complex three-dimensional relationships of the various buildings to each other.) In this series of articles (and especially in this first article) I’ll discuss how to decide what element a building is, according to feng shui.
The classification of a building into one of the five elements are mostly decided by shape. All the buildings in this series of articles will have in common that they are all tall buildings, and a vertical rectangle shape is always the element wood. If there’s any kind of waviness to the shape of the building, the element water is also represented.
Color and building material are also factors in deciding the element of the building, but they’re not as important as shape. With building material, we’re mostly concerned with what’s called cladding. It’s not necessarily (and not usually in a lot of modern buildings) the structural material (the bones of the building—and in this series of articles, the buildings are all quite big, supported by steel, which is obviously the element metal). The supporting structure of a building isn’t a significant factor because you don’t usually see it. The visual layer is the big deal in feng shui—the really big deal!
Buildings are almost always more than one element. The primary element is called primary for good reason: it’s really the thing that you go by 99% of the time. The secondary element (or elements, plural, in some buildings) is only taken into account when the building has factors that give two different elements almost equal prominence. That’s the case in the first building in this series, pictured at the top of this post—it’s in downtown Honolulu at the corner of Beretania and Bishop streets (right where Bishop become Pali Highway). Water and wood are almost equally represented.
The color of the glass is made more important on this building, because the balconies are (comparatively) minimal, and that makes the large vertical planes of glass very noticeable. (Balconies on a building chop up the view of the glass, so the glass is less visually important on those buildings.) The glass on this building made even more visually important by having it tinted blue. Blue says water—like the blue ocean.
More things that say water are the wavy blue line, and the word Pacific at the lower part of the building. Since water represents money in feng shui, one wonders whether there’s a financial advantage to living in a water building. Well, the owner of this particular building is quite wealthy (as, I suspect, are the owners of most big buildings), dare I say notoriously wealthy. But what about the people who live in a water building? It all depends on how the individual condos and apartments are laid out and decorated. If I lived in a water building, I’d have my predominate decor be wood, because wood is nourished by water, so the symbolism would be that the building feeds the unit—prosperity growing.