Yin Yu Tang is a “sky well” residential structure; in other words, it is a residential structure built around a small courtyard, the sky well. While its layout is in an enclosed style, it must be understood that “enclosure” here is not to be taken to mean that life within the structure would be stifling or “deadening.” Instead, it is the sky well that provides inhabitants full contact with Qi, in this case, the energy fields of nature outside of the residence, and achieves the philosophical concept mentioned earlier of “heaven and humans as one.” Below we briefly analyze a few aspects of the Yin Yu Tang structure to deepen our understanding of Qi.
1. Main Door/Portal of the Residence or Yard Door
The main portal of the Ying Yu Tang house is situated in its southeast corner. In accordance with the classic Chinese text, Yi Jing, also named the Book of Changes, the southeast position is called the position of Xun in Eight Trigrams (the eight basic positions representing eight natural phenomena in Yi Jing). The Xun position represents the wind in eight natural phenomena. With the main portal situated in this corner, wind will conduct positive energy (Qi) into the residence, bringing blessings to its inhabitants. In the long course of history, building residences with main doors located in the southeast corner evolved into a widely accepted tradition and practice, and can be attributed to the intersection of the fields of Chinese philosophy and architecture.
Lidong (Stanley) Yu