Architect's Knowledge ResourceDocuments
Creative Energy - Part 1
By Christian F. Mergner
What do restful sleep, a happy romantic life, serious legal problems, and custom residential architecture all have to do with Chinese metaphysics? I’ll address those questions in a four-part article. In Part 1, I will begin by talking about restful sleep. In Part 2, I will talk about basic applications in custom residential architecture and planning. In Part 3, I will review and discuss basic concepts and principles of traditional Chinese metaphysics. In Part 4, I will conclude with real world examples used in custom residential architecture, planning and professional practice.
Restful sleep is essential to good health, happiness and romantic life. About 1/3 of our life is spent sleeping. Our bodies need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a day to rest, rebuild and rejuvenate. In our digital age, we manage a lot of stress, chaos and distractions. Restful sleep reduces stress and fatigue, promoting a balanced, happy and healthy lifestyle.
The master bedroom is one of the most influential spaces in your home. How many readers have heard the phrase: ‘Happy wife, happy life’? It’s true! How do we design restful sleep for you, your spouse, or your clients? One way to achieve that is to sleep facing one of your favorable directions. There are (8) eight cardinal directions [N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, NW], and we each have a combination of (4) four favorable directions to choose from when designing a place to face/sit or sleep. In fact, each person fits into one of two groups. EAST Group favors a combination directions facing: E, SE, S and N. WEST Group favors a combination of directions facing: W, NW, SW and NE. What are your favorable directions? Are you East or West Group? As a planning tool you can create a matrix for each person in your house. For more info, please Google: What is my KUA number.
Knowing a person’s KUA number is essential. For example, in professional practice we wish to align one of our four favorable directions with the direction of the back of the headboard in the bedroom. For clarification, when we lay down to rest, or go to sleep, we determine our facing direction by the top of our head down to our torso. Pretend your body is a giant compass needle from head to stomach. Likewise, when you stand or sit we determine our facing direction by which direction our chest and shoulders squarely face, and not by the direction our head is turned, nor where our eyes look.
Example of an existing [non-restful] East facing headboard location vs. proposed [active] sitting direction.
Secondly, some of us may prefer to sleep straight on our back, side or stomach, while others may prefer to sleep curled up on our sides. Sometimes, we watch TV or read a book in bed, and fall asleep with our feet at the headboard. No matter which direction you sleep at night, by morning you know if you slept well (or not). What are your favorable sleeping directions to position your headboard when you sleep? Does your existing bedroom design offer you a choice? If you are designing for all new construction, you may have more design choices regarding orientation, layout, and location of the master bedroom suite. Should you choose to remodel or renovate an existing home, you can measure the existing home with a magnetic compass or via Google Earth to determine which direction the house and master bedroom walls faces/sits or sleeps. Please always reference magnetic north, which is approximately 18 to 20 degrees north-NW, of true north shown on Google Earth. The magnetic compass was first invented as a device for divination as early as the Chinese Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). You can buy a magnetic compass at any sporting goods store for less than $20.
Example of an existing reading area sitting northeast vs. proposed [restful] headboard location facing northeast.
Finally, what may be good for one person may not be good for the other person. How do we design a headboard location for a couple who are east and west groups? For example: south facing is east group, and southwest facing is west group. These directions are adjacent to one another. Therefore, if the headboard faces south, this would be ideal for an east group person. A person who prefers to sleep fairly straight would be facing south when they sleep. A person who prefers to sleep curled up on their left side is effectively facing southwest (e.g. west group). Whereas, a person that prefers to sleep curled up on their right side is effectively facing southeast (e.g. east group). Our bodies know what feels best (or not0. We generally compensate to find our best sleeping directions, based on what’s available. How restfully do you sleep? Do you toss and turn? In which direction do you sleep at home or when traveling? Other key factors may include a person’s KUA number in relationship to the Feng Shui of the bedroom. Is Feng Shui in the bedroom active or restful? Who is the primary breadwinner? Does either person have trouble sleeping at night? Does a person prefer to sleep straight or curled-up? Does a person wish to be closer to (or farther from) the bathroom or bedroom door? Where are your head and feet in relationship to the bedroom door? Are there any mirrors in the bedroom, which are visible from the bed? All these key factors may come into play when determining how best to lay out your master bedroom, which I will be discussing in a later part. Designing and planning around our favorable directions is a perfect place to start.
Wishing you great health, happiness and prosperity!
About the Author: Christian Mergner is a Project Manager at the University of South Carolina Facilities Design & Construction Department. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. His interests include cycling, cooking and traditional Chinese metaphysics.
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