16 Ways to Determine the Directionality of a Building

April 16, 2009

Many student shave trouble working out the directionality (Sitting and Facing) of a building, often it is not because of their lack of abilities but it is caused by the house location and internal layout not responding appropriately to the context of the site. I have devised a checklist of 16 points for consideration to help them in the process.

From outside looking in – consider how the environment is affecting the building:

1) Consider the direction of the coming dragon, the coming side is the sitting and the going side is the facing.

2) Consider the topography of the land, the higher side is the sitting and the lower side is the facing.

3) Consider the location of the nearest watercourses; closer to the waterside is the facing and further away is the sitting.

4) Consider the nearest roadwork, closer to the road is the facing, further away is the sitting.

5) Consider the nearest open space (mingtang) and view, the more open and the better view is the facing, less open and lack of a view is the sitting.

6) Consider vehicular and pedestrian movements, the more active side is the facing and the more passive side is the sitting.

7) Consider neighbouring buildings, the taller and closer side is the sitting and the lower and further away is the facing.

8) Consider tress and shrubs, the side with higher and denser planting is the sitting and the side with shorter and sparser planting is the facing.

From inside looking out – consider how the building is responding to the environment:

9) Consider the different heights that made up a building, the taller side is the sitting and the shorter side is the facing.

10) Consider the proportion and shape of a building, the longer side is the facing and the shorter side is the sitting.

11) Consider the different levels within a building, the higher level is the sitting and the lower level side is the facing.

12) Consider sunlight and shade, the more sunny side is the facing, shadier side is the sitting.

13) Consider the internal spatial arrangement, the more active side (e.g. Living area) is the facing and the more passive side (e.g. sleeping areas) is the sitting.

14) Consider windows and openings, the side with more is the facing, the side with less is the sitting.

15) Consider the connection from inside to outside, the side with more connection is the facing and the side with less connection is the sitting.

16) Consider the location of the front door, where it is located is the facing and the opposite is the sitting.

By considering these 16 ways of contrasting the yin and the yang, we can better determine the directionality of a building, the general guideline is the more active and less substantial is the facing and the less active and more substantial is the sitting.

4 Responses to “16 Ways to Determine the Directionality of a Building”

  1. Alan Says:

    Hi Howard,
    Its been nice on this article about finding the facing and sitting direction. It is most fundamental yet tricky at times.
    could you elaborate on point 1 as to how you consider coming and going & how this applies to road which could be bi directional.

    Thank you.
    Regards,

    • howardchoy Says:

      Hi Alan,

      Thanks for dropping by and read my post, with regard to Point 1, the Coming Dragon refers to the mountain, hill or higher ground next to the side, because mountain is considered relatively inactive, so it is most likely the sitting direction. With traffic next to the site, because of the movement of the cars, no matter which direction they come from, it is considered relatively active, so it is most likely to be the facing direction.

      Now that I re-read Point 1, I can see the term “Coming Dragon” could be confusing for someone who is not familiar with “Coming Dragon and Going Water” in the Da Gua system, where I borrowed the term from.

      Regards,
      Howard

  2. Naseeb Says:

    Hi Howard,

    This is a helpful and interesting article!
    Regarding point 10:
    Why the longer side would be the facing? Is it because it contains more openings?
    When the sitting is shorter than the facing, could this mean that the sitting would be not stable enough?

    Regards,
    Naseeb

    • howardchoy Says:

      Hi Naseeb,

      The longer side is compared to the shorter side of another facing as in an unequal L-shape block, it is not compared to the sitting. The sitting should ideally be the same length as the facing.

      Thanks for dropping by,
      Howard


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