6 Basic Vastu Principles in Buildings with Examples For Architects

Have you ever spent weeks coming up with the perfect plan for a building only for it to be dismissed because it wasn’t according to something called “Vastu”?

Ancient Indians believed that the balance between the elements of earth, water, fire, air, and space within a building will bring positive energy into it and benefit the users residing there. This belief manifested itself in their designs as a set of rules which are strictly followed even today in most buildings, known as Vastu Shastra.

Key Principles to Follow in Vastu

Vastu Shastra is not considered a science, but contrary to popular belief, it is not pious either. The key principles of Vastu Shastra include:

  1. The Directions
  2. Orientation and Layout
  3. Shape
  4. Room Placement
  5. Colors
  6. Placement of Elements

1. The Directions

There are four cardinal directions (North, South, East, and West) and four inter-cardinal directions (North-east, North-west, South-east, and South-west). Each direction signifies various aspects of either well-being or negativity. 

  • North signifies wealth while East signifies prosperity and success.
Meenakshi Amman Temple by the Pandyan Dynasty 
Meenakshi Amman Temple by the Pandyan Dynasty 

The temple aligns with the cardinal directions, with the goddess facing the East direction.

2. Orientation and layout 

Natural light and ventilation improve the mental well-being of the inhabitants and make the space more lively.

  • The main entrance to a building should face the East or North direction, as these are believed to be auspicious and considered the best directions for receiving natural light. 
079 Stories Center for Arts by Vastu Shilpa Consultants
079 Stories Center for Arts by Vastu Shilpa Consultants

The major windows of this building in Ahmedabad face the east direction, ensuring plenty of natural light into the building.

3. Shape

  • The shape of every room should be regular and rectangular.
  • Avoid curved or slanted walls.
The Vastu House by Khosla Architects
The Vastu House by Khosla Architects

This residence has no curved or slanted walls and all the rooms are rectangular in shape.

4. Room Placement

Pooja room

  • The pooja room or prayer room should be located in the North-east corner of the house as it is considered to be a sacred corner. 

Kitchen

A kitchen needs proper natural light, but not too much as it might make the room too hot. Ventilation should also be given equal importance to provide both cooling and an efficient way to dissipate the smoke.

  • The kitchen should ideally be located in the South-east corner of the house. 
  • The stove or cooking range should face East, and the cook should face East while cooking.

Dining Area 

  • The dining area should be near the kitchen and not anywhere near the entrance of the house.

Bedrooms

Bedrooms don’t need direct light but should be properly ventilated to provide a calm and cool area for relaxing.

  • The master bedroom should be located in the South-west corner of the house, while the children’s bedrooms can be in the North-west or West directions. 
  • Bedrooms should not be located in the North-east corner, as this is believed to bring bad luck.

Toilets

  • Toilets should not be located in the northeast or South-west corners of the house. 
  • They should ideally be located in the North-west or South-east corners.

Living room

Living rooms are the heart of a house, encouraging social gatherings. They should also serve as the central point for circulation.

  • The living room should be located in the northeast or North direction of the house, near the entrance.
  • The center of the house should be an empty space.

Staircase

  • The staircase should be located in the South-west corner of the house, and should ascend in a clockwise direction.
Orchid House by DADA Architects
Orchid House by DADA Architects

In the Orchid House, all the rooms follow the rules of Vastu. The residence even has a central courtyard with plenty of plants.

5. Colors

Colors are an important aspect of Vastu Shastra. Each color is believed to have its own energy and can affect the mood and atmosphere of a space, a fact that has scientific backing. 

  • Blue is believed to promote calmness and tranquility
  • Red symbolizes passion and energy
Story of three courts residence by Collage Architecture Studio
Story of three courts residence by Collage Architecture Studio

The warm and earthly tones and textures of the building give a calming and inviting atmosphere to the space.

6. Placement Of Elements

Water bodies: 

Although believed to bring positive energy and prosperity, water features are rare inside residences. 

  • Water bodies such as fountains, pools, and ponds should ideally be located in the northeast or East direction of a building. 
  • Avoid having water features inside bedrooms.

Mirrors: 

  • Mirrors should be placed in a way that they reflect light into the room. 
  • They should not be placed where they reflect cluttered and unorganized spaces.
  • In bedrooms, the mirror should not face the bed or people sleeping.

Furniture: 

  • Furniture should be arranged in a way that promotes a good flow of energy and allows for easy movement within a room. 
  • Heavy furniture should not be placed in the center of a room, as this is believed to block the flow of energy.

Plants: 

Plants are believed to bring positive energy into space. 

  • They should be placed in the north or east directions of a room.

Lighting: 

  • Lighting should be used to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. 
  • Natural light is always preferred, and artificial lighting should be used in a way that only complements the natural light.
Courtyard House by Abin Design Studio
Courtyard House by Abin Design Studio

The courtyard house has plants, water bodies, and other features according to Vastu principles both inside and outside, giving positive energy to the residents.

It is important to note that there are many variations of Vastu principles and guidelines, and different practitioners may have different interpretations of these principles. Hence, it is always best to consult with a qualified expert in the field for specific guidance.

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