Theory in architecture is a form of expression that helps establish notions, unconventional thoughts, and procedures. The symbiotic interconnection between a concept and the technicalities required to build is what theory in architecture represents. Any ideology or philosophy described does not illustrate all the knowledge, but the basic fundamentals of architecture. Such principles further help students, teachers, and professionals to generate better ideas, improvising the process of evolution. Practice invariably implies theory, and with this in mind, today, we shall elaborate upon one such doctrine, called Maharishi Vastu Architecture.
“Architecture gives dimensions, formulas, and orientations to the buildings that will provide cosmic harmony and support to the individuals for his peace, prosperity, and good health – daily life in accord with Natural Law, daily life in the evolutionary direction.” – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi¹
First coined by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and also known as Maharishi Sthāpatya Veda, and Fortune-creating buildings and homes, Maharishi Vastu Architecture is a set of design principles used in spatial planning and designing. The said rudiments bring together natural laws and cosmic energies, making our living environments healthier and peaceful.
According to Maharishi Global Constructions (MGC in Fairfield, Iowa), the art of structuring buildings and cities following the inter-relation of “cosmic intelligence” of the universe and “individual intelligence” of an occupant is the heart of Maharishi Vedic Architecture (MVA). Derived from the Veda’s and nearly 5000-year-old Sanskrit texts, MVA is science, long lost, and sorely misinterpreted by individuals.
One might think that the principles of Maharishi Vedic Architecture are mere superstitions. The question of the association between architectural elements inducing fortune and celestial dynamisms arises. Let us take a look at what explicitly the theory encompasses and what design principles does it follow.
Association of cosmic energy with architecture that generates well-being – Is that what Maharishi Vastu Architecture signifies?
The science of MVA insinuates that if one builds a habitat with a suitable system that encompasses the solar, lunar, and influence of other galaxies with the correlation of north-south poles and the equator, it is possible to create architecture that affects the behavioural dynamics of the inhabitants optimistically. Maharishi Vedic Architecture acknowledges the effect of our natural surroundings, majorly through the influence of the sun. The sun is said to radiate variant qualities of energy that reciprocate at different times in distinctive spaces, supporting the activities performed respectively.
Researches in modern science confirm the age-old comprehensive analysis that a human brain is sensitive to positions, orientation, and direction of space. Many research papers such as Vedic homes seek better living through architecture By Brandy Welvaert, Maharishi Vedic Architecture: Vaastu for Well-being and Security by Anna Bonshek, etc., state that buildings and cities following cardinal directions applying a grid format, specific geometry and proportions and proper perimeter enclosures not only result in a harmonious environment but also healthier human physiology.
The features and core principles of Maharishi Vastu Architecture
As implied in the segment and paradigms above, various architectural elements work as the heart and core narrative of MVA design principles. Fundamentals such as the orientation, placement of rooms, doors, and windows, Proportion of the structure, colours used, and application of natural and non-toxic building material help build a favourable habitat. Maharishi Vedic Architecture as the “signifier,” supports the above postulates through “pre consciousness.”
To start with, structures built according to MVA design principles face east direction and contain a central space, known as the “Brahmasthan.” The Brahmasthan also called “the silent core” represents the establishment of wholeness and acts as an arena that allures positivity. Not used for the performance of any specific activity, but its central location signifies the quiet centre of the natural universe, like the nucleus of an atom.
According to Jon Lipman, the foremost western architect practising Maharishi Vedic Architecture, Brahmasthan is the key that holds together the spatial characteristics of a building; remove it, and the entirety of the space vanishes. ² Lit by skylights, and huge windows, Brahmasthan serves as an axial point, segregating the areas per their cardinal directions.
Next, since the sun rises from the east, it is advised that the architect design the eastern façade in a manner, wherein it does not block the first rays of the day. All the rooms in space are oriented to capture the sun rays as they pass throughout the day (east-west overhead direction). Any cooking space (kitchen, pantry, etc.) should be oriented towards the eastern or south-eastern facade because one of the five elements of the earth, namely fire, yields better influence in the said direction.
Maharishi Vedic Architecture cogitates the movement of the sun to ensure that every aspect in houses or any other building complex is in harmony with the natural law. Other typologies of buildings are often constructed in a linear form to gather the most east-facing exposure. Maharishi Vedic Architecture claims that there are only two directions, east and north, that bring auspicious tendencies into a respective space.
Conferring with medical and statistical validations, if the entrance of any space, be it a residential, commercial, institutional, or healthcare complex is oriented towards the west or south, it becomes the carrier of poverty, fears, issues, lack of creativity, and chronic diseases. ³ Another scientifically authenticated attribute includes an obstinate perimeter known as a “Vaastu Fence,” which consists of small trees, shrubs, stone or wooden boundaries.
The primitive intention here is to enhance the use of naturally sourced materials in and around the space because nature has its method to perfectly balance, integrate, and sustain living and non-living organisms. In the research paper called “Maharishi Vedic Architecture: Background and Summary of Scientific Research,” provided by the Maharishi University of Management, one finds more exemplars to support the above principles.
Ar. Jon Lipman, in the same study, mentions various instances of how architecture affects behaviour and health. He talks about the placement and ambience in a hospital; patients kept in the east-facing wing have twice as higher recovery rate than the patients in other cardinal regions, given that all design parameters remain equal.
Another eminent parameter stipulating a successful MVA design is the Scale and Proportion. Scale and Proportion of a structure are calculated using mathematical formulas of Vaastu, prolonged from times immemorial. These Vedic formulas account for the movement of the sun, moon, and stars with the capacity of occupants to establish a perfect resonance between the elements of the space and cosmic energies.
Lastly, the component that makes Maharishi Vedic Architecture a quintessential theory to apply is building with sustainable, locally available, natural resources. The use of materials such as rammed earth, adobe, wood, etc., not only makes a structure climatically sustainable but decreases the carbon footprint of the built-form. MVA avoids building edifices along harmful electro-magnetic fields caused by high-tension lines or microwave towers because such provinces are the cause of atmosphere impairing radiations.
Presently, technologies such as solar panels, geothermal, rainwater catchment systems, etc., are exponentially applied in MVA homes as an ecological design solution.
In a press conference with the World Press (February 16, 2004), his holiness, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi while discussing all the above principles commented that architecture as a dimension acts as a boon to the individual inhabiting if these aspects are promoted and followed. Quoting an illustration of a proposed project called The Abundance Eco Village (built-in 2011), Maharishi Mahesh Yogi suggested to build the neighbourhood wherein the design, energy and water needs, etc., all are per nature.
As a result, the atmosphere acts as an amalgamation of socially, mentally, and physically essential facilities, promoting well-being. Incorporating and following the principles of MVA along with the alternative resource management systems like photovoltaic systems, wind turbines, wetland waste treatment, etc., the 15-acre land envelops nourishment for humans and the ecosystem. With rooms dimensioned with Vedic mathematical calculations and placed to allow appropriate amounts of sunlight, the residents feel enhanced mental clarity and creativity.
From all the above paradigms, it is evident that it is necessary to use nature’s organization to create and maintain the symbiotic interconnection between individual and cosmic intelligence. Architecture is a method to establish this connection, and abiding by a set of regulations that can enhance our practice is needed. Coherence, calm, and symmetry are essentially required, and the principles of Maharishi Vedic Architecture are capable of providing physiological, psychological, and behavioural balance.
1-Quote by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Official site of Maharishi Vedic Architecture. https://www.maharishivastu.org/principles-of-maharishi-vastu-architecture
2- Jon Lipman, foremost western architect to practice MVA, examples from a research paper, pdf – Vedic homes seek better living through architecture.
3- Directional impacts in a space, examples from a research paper, pdf – Maharishi Vedic Architecture: Background and Summary of Scientific Research. https://www.maharishivastu.org/pdf/full_summary_of_scientific_research.pdf
4- The Abundance Eco Village, building example, official site of Maharishi Vedic Architecture. http://www.abundanceecovillage.com/about/village-life-2/