How feng shui shaped Hong Kong's skyline

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  • Published on:  Wednesday, August 1, 2018
  • Hong Kong’s superstitious skyline.Follow Johnny on Instagram: the Vox Borders watch page: up for the Vox Borders newsletter: episode 1: episode 2: to our channel! Kong’s famous skyline is known for its colorful lights and modern buildings, but a closer look reveals some unique designs inspired by feng shui. Like the gaping holes in the middle of buildings to let dragons fly through or cannon-like structures installed to deflect bad “qi” (pronounced chi). The main belief in feng shui is that destiny is bound to the environment, so good fortune and harmony can be invited in and bad energy can be warded off by arranging objects and buildings around us. It's an ancient Chinese practice that has come to define Hong Kong's skyline. In this episode of Borders, we explore feng shui principles, explain the circumstances that allowed it to flourish in Hong Kong and take a look at the unique designs around the city. Vox Borders is an international documentary series by Emmy-nominated producer Johnny Harris exploring life at the edge of nations. For more, visit our full video catalog: Vox on Facebook: Twitter:


  • Vox
    Vox  a years ago +2056

    We should clarify that while construction firms have specifically cited feng shui as a motive for putting holes in their buildings, the unique design also has other purposes other than superstition, including heat ventilation and city code compliance. Feng shui is not always a factor in these design decisions but we did hope to show that the belief system has influenced architectural decisions in Hong Kong.

  • fly on your screen
    fly on your screen  a years ago +1040

    A bank has cannons literally pointing at a competitors bank lol

  • Arthur Heidt
    Arthur Heidt  2 months ago +406

    these dragon gates will come in handy in the age of flying cars

  • ArchOfWinter
    ArchOfWinter  a years ago +2970

    Superstitions aside, having large holes in tall buildings is actually very good for the surrounding area. It let the air flows and help keeps air from getting stagnate, a heat island effect, to a certain extend. Many older districts has buildings that act like a giant wall to maximize floor space, but it alos keeps hot air trapped in surrounding areas.

  • Zedek
    Zedek  a years ago +708

    Regardless of feng shui being a superstition, the city just looks beautiful.

  • Our Founding Liars
    Our Founding Liars  a years ago +596

    This video helped me confirm that dragons were the ones the brought down the twin towers. Keep asking questions

  • _Bob McCoy
    _Bob McCoy  a years ago +4917

    Can't the dragons just fly over the buildings?!

  • ArchOfWinter
    ArchOfWinter  a years ago +973

    The HSBC building also has no tall building blocking the water view, thus, keeping the wealth flowing and assets liquid. This status/view is literally set in stone. The HSBC and the HK government has an agreement that no tall building will ever be built in front of the HSBC building.

  • Donald J Trump
    Donald J Trump  a years ago +514

    I thought it was glory hole for Godzilla.

  • Chi chan
    Chi chan  2 months ago +78

    Right next door is the Communist Bank of Red China
    lol the propaganda back then when communism was a thing.

  • Just Facts
    Just Facts  21 hours ago +1

    0:33 lol I somehow can't stop laughing on the way you pronounce Feng Shui

  • Michael Jay - Value Investing

    So thoughtful! I am sure the dragons appreciate this.

  • james chan2
    james chan2  a years ago +241

    its actually because of the buildings in hong kong are so high, the buildings sometimes have a hole in them so that the air can be ventilated instead of being trapped in an area, making the city even hotter. but i guess feng shui plays a small part too.

  • Joanne C.
    Joanne C.  a years ago +220

    Ok, "dragons" in Chinese Feng Shui don't necessary mean the actual creatures. It's actually just a metaphor of the flow of "luck". When they say the "dragons" come from mountain to water, that's saying the "luck" goes from mountains to water. Though Feng Shui is really just bunch of superstitions, but a part of it coincides with actual science. Water has always been the symbol of luck, and if you look at history, almost all port cities or financial major cities today are close by water. So water is certainly an economical device for generating fortune. Also, when things go from high place to flow (mountains to water), the momentum energy is also deemed as going to a low momentum energy. Both physics and chemistry agree that substance like to "settle" at low momentum energy. I know it's far fetched, but at least that's how people look at it.

  • Mr Woodgate
    Mr Woodgate  10 months ago +29

    feng shui is a classical chinese culture, which hong Kong has been following for hundreds of years

  • Timothy Powell
    Timothy Powell  a years ago +14

    I’ve been to Hong Kong 🇭🇰 and seen all those buildings and places loved the vid😍❤️

  • andywolan
    andywolan  6 months ago +16

    OMG, the HSBC building does have "cannons" on top of the building! I always jokingly thought that, but did not realize that was the true intent. Does anyone know if this "cannon" design is true for buildings in Shanghai as well?

  • Jack Lee
    Jack Lee  1 months ago +9

    Ancient Chinese beliefs still stand tall in modern HK. Chinese here haven't forgotten their roots.

  • Jess
    Jess  5 months ago +6

    Rumor has it that the Hong Kong HSBC building can be entirely disassembled and shipped out should the Hong Kong situation turn sour

  • Ho Lam Cheng
    Ho Lam Cheng  a years ago +935

    This explanation is amusing but not very accurate. I work in an engineering consultant in Hong Kong. For skyscraper projects like these (residential or commercial), there’re a whole lot of requirements in design for architects and engineers to follow.
    E.g. a vacant, unoccupied level has to be inserted in the middle of the building for the sake of fire insulation as stated in the buildings ordinance (this explains why there’s a gap floor in some skyscrapers);
    the ratio of “green roof top garden area” for the public to sellable floor area has to meet a certain value as stated on the land lease (this is why there’s a hole for greens in some skyscrapers);
    For buildings above certain heights or density, the design has to be adjusted to ensure ventilation/air circulation in the city is not disrupted, so as to prevent heat island effect (a good way to do this is to leave a “hole” in the buidling)
    The explanation about Fengshui is not entirely wrong, but its much more complicated than that, huh