Thursday, September 12, 2002
|The World Trade Center before Sept.
By Michael Y. Park
NEW YORK When the Twin
Towers came crashing down on Sept. 11, they left a gaping hole
in lower Manhattan. One year later, no one seems to know how
to patch up that wound.
But the practitioners of the ancient Asian
art of feng shui have definite ideas on what ought to go into,
and what ought to be barred from, the reconstructed World
Trade Center site.
"A proper feng shui handling is really
vital for resolution of the issues the destruction of the
World Trade Center has raised," said Steven Post, CEO of the
Geomancy/Feng Shui Education of Organization, or
"The main thing is to recover or surpass
the chi, the life energy, that we lost," added Post, "and New
Yorkers have an instinctive feeling for this."
Feng shui is a 3,000-year-old discipline
that originated in China and aims to balance the "chi," or
vital energy, of the places where people live and work. It is
designed to create harmony between man-made habitations and
the natural environment through architecture, design and the
placement of furnishings.
Though some people say it's a New Age fad,
feng shui experts insist that at the root of the art is simple
utility and an appeal to the instinctual sensibilities of
humans. It's key to, or at least part of, most construction
projects in East Asia.
Though there are several schools of the
art, experts who have visited the site agreed on several
First of all, the original towers were a
disappointment, in terms of feng shui. Though the
Japanese-American architect, Minoru Yamasaki, incorporated
elements of feng shui into his design, the overall effect was
not good for the flow of chi, according to the
||James Di Liberto
||Zaihong Shen at the World Trade
The structures created several examples of
what are called a shar, or "poison arrows," elements
that include sharp angles, which focus negative energy.
Especially egregious was the fact that the towers were
slightly offset from each other, meaning that their corners
stabbed at each other's hearts.
"It was the biggest poison arrow in the
world," said Dina Trisk, who practices Taoist feng shui at
Feng Shui Tao, in New York. "The towers each had corners with
poison arrows pointed directly at the other building. It's all
Zaihong Shen, author of Feng Shui:
Harmonizing Your Inner & Outer Space,
"The sides lined up like the buildings were
fighting each other," she said. "And if the new building is
going to be built, it's got to be built better against the
wind. I went to the restaurant once, and you could be at the
dinner table and your stomach was turning."
Post, whose group is based in New York and
San Francisco and follows the Black Sect Tantric Buddhist
school of feng shui, added that the buildings were
They were also unified on another point:
The towers must be rebuilt, and rebuilt big.
"The World Trade Center was the dragon
mountain of downtown," Shen said, using the term for the most
impressive structure in an area, which in a sense becomes the
"leader" of nearby buildings, helping raise the chi for the
She said the towers would have to be at
least half as tall as nearby skyscrapers, meaning it would
have to stand about 75 stories, at the least.
"When a feng shui object is stolen or
broken, you replace it with something improved, larger or more
elegant or more expensive," he said.
As for the six rebuilding plans currently
being considered by the Port Authority of New York and New
Jersey, the three experts replied to each with a resounding
Some plans had far too many poison arrows,
and many were not bold enough, didn't include enough greenery
or were unbalanced.
Judging by reaction to the plans, the
public agrees that none of them are quite right.
Shen said the new buildings ought to face
east and south to take in the morning sun, and not be placed
where streets would flow directly at them. She also
recommended that the footprint of the original towers remain
exposed, perhaps outlined in water to take advantage of the
element's youthful energy.
"The water element is what is needed the
most, because water will destroy the fire, and fire is the
reason the buildings were destroyed," she said.
Post said he'd prefer three round towers,
each taller than the one before, representing the earth,
humankind and the heavens, and reaching higher than the
Trisk championed the proposal of architect
Derek G. Turner, which would create a cylindrical,
greenery-covered tower topped with a pyramid that she said
would channel the chi upwards.
"This is the one," she said. "Symbolically,
for money, this is amazing, to have plants at the foundation,
to allow the city to grow again."