As an architect and designer, you make it a point to understand the latest trends and movements in your field and craft. You’ve probably even traveled the world to learn more and get inspired. In India, you’ve noticed there’s a lot of talk of Vastu—but why? What is it? How are Vastu design elements distinguishable from other styles?
Vastu Architecture, or, more formally Maharishi Vastu Architecture, is a design and construction technique based on Natural Law and Vedic principles. Vastu Architecture and Design has the goal of maximizing the nourishing influences of a space—be it a single room, building, or even a wider community—on its residents. From the Maharishi Vastu Architecture organization’s website (http://www.maharishivastu.org), Yogi Maharishi Mahesh is quoted with the following to describe Vastu’s philosophy:
“Because the individual life is cosmic, everything about individual life should be in full harmony with Cosmic Life. Maharishi Vedic architecture gives dimensions, formulas, and orientations to the buildings that will provide cosmic harmony and support to the individual for his peace, prosperity, and good health — daily life in accord with Natural Law, daily life in the evolutionary direction.”
Since Vedic-based philosophies are so much a part of Indian culture, once you know what Vastu is, it’s much easier to understand its prevalence and popularity in India. There are three principles that are the focus of Vastu philosophy, with two additional aspects also important to the success and attainment of the style’s ultimate goals.
Principles of Focus
1) Right Direction
A building’s orientation has a profound impact on the quality of life imbued within a space. In Vedic tradition, it’s said the energy from the sun is most potent, most nourishing in the morning as it rises. It is for this reason East-facing buildings and windows are said to bring the greatest benefits. Establishing the most nourishing orientation is the first step to successful Vastu design.
2) Right Placement
Again, the movement of the sun and the qualities its energies put forth throughout the day determine, in Vastu, the best design for prosperity. Using the sun as a guide, various rooms intended for specific purposes may be enhanced in their fulfillment depending on where they are placed in the design. Taking into consideration the activities of a space and how they can be enhanced by the qualities of the sun is crucial to harmonious designs.
3) Right Proportion
The Vastu design philosophy considers proper proportions and alignments of measurements as means of “[strengthening] the connection of our individual intelligence to Cosmic Intelligence.” The concept of balanced proportions as a most desirable state is nothing new to architecture and design, but the Vastu style requires a unique level of awareness and implementation of this principle. Vedic formulas are used in calculating the perfect resonance between components of a structure and the energies of cosmic structures such as the sun and planets.
Natural, Nontoxic Materials with Emphasis on Solar Energy
Building sustainably from renewable and recycled resources suitable for local conditions is important for achieving proper flow of energies. Natural materials such as ceramic, wood, and stone are utilized while non-toxic and environmentally respectful paints and glues are standard for finishing appropriate surfaces. Electromagnetic energy is even considered with this priority, restricting structures from being built near harmful electromagnetic fields.
Other Important Influences Considered
Other elements and influences should be considered and worked into the design harmoniously. Slope and shape of the land, the rising sun unobstructed, bodies of water or large stone formations, and even the timing of a structure’s creation and erection are all important influences to be worked into a design. Again, harmony and maximized energetic nourishment is key.
Find Out More
This has only been a brief introduction to the vast and fascinating perspective of design that is Maharishi Vastu Architecture. If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits, reading testimonials, or simply expanding upon your research, a great starting place is the Maharishi Vastu Architecture organization’s website at http://www.maharishivastu.org.
May your architectural learning be prosperous and all your designs nourishing!