Vastu concepts

Architect brings ancient Vedic principles to designing homes

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Imagine if the subtle dimensions of a structure or the strategic placement of a doorway, could inexplicably usher in good fortune and resonate harmony in your life.  Architect David Fojo follows Indian Vastu Vedic principles when drafting his building plans in order to increase the happiness, wealth, health and prosperity of the people who live and work in the home or office space he has designed.

Fojo, 54, of Cascade, obtained his bachelors degree in architecture from Pratt Institute in New York.  But it was while he continued his studies in Art and Architecture and Engineering at Brown University in Rhode Island, that he was introduced to the transcendental meditation that would transform his thinking.

Initially he started practising meditation to ease exam stress, but then he began experiencing the benefits of it.  That motivated Fojo to delve deeper into a study of the Vedas (the ancient Indian text upon which Hinduism was created) and ayurvedic healing (which uses herbs, massage and yoga as a form of medicinal treatment).  “A major influence on my professional life has been learning from the ancient design philosophies of the world.  I was first introduced to the science of Vastu or Sthapatya Veda when I was studying at Brown University in the early ‘70’s and I have been a student of it ever since.  I have tried to integrate the wisdom of the ancient masters into the modern architectural practice.”

Fojo went on to obtain his Master’s Degree from Yale University School of Architecture in Connecticut.  Then in 1986, he moved to idyllic town of Fairfield in Iowa to learn about the principles and practice of Maharishi Sthapatya Veda.

Sthapatya Veda or Vastu Shastra is the ancient Hindu system of architecture developed by the mythical sage Mamuni Mayan.  It is a science of structure that correlates the design of a building with the natural laws that structure the universe.  In so doing, Vastu aims to bring about an auspicious alignment that produces physiological benefits to the individual as well as improving their general well-being.

Vastu uses various mathematical and diagrammatic theories to design a floor plan.  Thus, the blueprint is made up of sectors of a Mandala (quadrangle) which is a metaphysical plan of the building that incorporates the course of the heavenly bodies and supernatural forces.

“It’s a very ancient design philosophy,” says Fojo.  “In fact, some people trace it as far back as 10,000 years.  The great saint Maharishi Mayan was the first great Sthapati (architect). People believed that he reached a higher state of consciousness and so he was worshiped as demigod.  They believed that in order to be a great architect you had to be a great saint.  That your consciousness had to be highly developed in order to perceive spaces and the impact it would have on people.”

Fojo explained that Vastu allowed Fairfield to flourish.  Not only were the people healthier and more contented, but the businesses were showing growth.  “Fairfield is one of the more important experiments worldwide in developing new towns from scratch.  Every aspect of the north part of town has been developed from the ground up using the principles of the Vedas and it is an absolutely marvelous place with an extraordinary feeling of harmony.  The town layout and all buildings have been designed using Maharishi Sthaptaya Veda.  The health and medical facilities use the Vedic principles of Ayurveda, Vedic Agriculture is used to make the town almost self-sufficient for food, and in general Vedic Philosophy permeates all aspects of design and running of the town.  The town is based on green and sustainable building and sets a good example by generating large amounts of alternative energy for a significant portion of its needs.”

Fojo spent six years helping to create this town using the Vastu Veda concepts and green building techniques.  He also had the opportunity to experience the pervading sense of peace from living and working in the Vastu buildings of a Vastu town.

Fojo further studied Vastu under the tutorship of Dr. Ganapati Sthapati, who is credited for the resurgence of Vastu in the field of architecture.  He comes from an illustrious line of sthapatis that have designed and built temples and other structures going back thousands of years.  Fojo followed Dr. Ganapati to India and New Mexico.

After being exposed to eastern philosophy he changed his approach to architecture.  Fojo became convinced that the Vedic architects or Sthapatis, knew important things about creating ideal buildings that western architects were unaware of.  The axiom of Vastu is that a well-structured building has the power to generate harmony, to heal and to create prosperity that the conventional western architect could not conceive of.  During this time he began integrating this Vedic knowledge into a system of practical modern architecture that had much more benefits than conventional architecture.

“According to Vastu, there are divine laws of sacred geometry, rhythms, sub-rhythms and resonance that are linked to where the entrance of a building should be, for instance.  Because certain mathematical ratios, proportions and dimensions produce the right kind of energy.  The ancient Sthapatis predicted benefits that are only now being confirmed by modern science.  Vastu is proven to result in better sleep; better communication and relationships; better sense of well being and happiness; improved health and increased prosperity.”

He explained that something as simplistic as the different as the different qualities of daylight at the different times of the day can affect their suitability for certain functions and not others.  When a space is enclosed using the right proportions it begins to resonate at certain frequency and may become a living entity itself.

Fojo explained that this resonance can be made harmonious and supportive for the occupants by entering the space at a certain point; or made disharmonious and chaotic by entering at the wrong point.  He noted that general principles related to the layout of a building: “There are specific  functions that should be located in certain parts of the building.  For example, the kitchen of a home should be in the south east corner of the home.  Also, the Sthapatis knew how to align buildings with the earth’s powerful electromagnetic fields of various kinds to create overall coherent energy in the building.  Generally, it is favoured to align the walls of a building with True North (not Grid or Magnetic North) and sometimes there are corrections to be made for various situations.”

So when he established Fojo design and Development Limited on Park Street, Port of Spain he began using Vedic architectural theories to create Vastu design of multi-storey complexes.  The style of architecture, however, is a matter of personal choice.  So that, a Vastu building can draw its inspiration from Eastern Oriental influences or it can have very futuristic elements.  Two of Dr. Ganapati’s most senior architect “disciples” are among his staff members and collaborate with him closely on various projects.  Fojo has created Vastu design for Flow, Towers for Amar Group of Companies  and a conceptual design of a butterfly exhibit for e-teck.

Recently, the company started offering Vastu home plans of several prototype designs because Fojo was motivated to make the benefits of Vastu more available and more affordable.  The blueprints include everything from construction materials to electrical and plumbing.

He said, “We have created a line of Sthapatya Vedic or ‘Green’ homes which are now being launched to the public.  There are about ten home designs to choose from, ranging from the 900 square foot starter home, through middle income homes and including a few luxury home designs.  Most homes have versions that have been customized to take maximum advantage of whether the house faces east, west, north or south.  Clients can request to modify the plans to suit their needs or their site and we are happy to do that.  The cost for a full set of working drawings is from $2,400 and up.”

The principles of Vastu have been applied since ancient times to the Construction of temples, forts, palaces, town and city layout of India.  He added that lord Buddha was taught Vastu Veda and after his enlightenment he spread this teaching to China and Japan and it evolved into Feng Shui.  “The concepts of Vastu and Feng Shui are eternal truths.  They are spiritual scientific laws of the universe.”

These basic geometric forms have a great deal of power in them.  So that the square that is that foundation for a building can be calming and create order. Fojo encourages people to consider making the change to Vastu to eliminate the disorder and disharmony in their lives.

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