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Visit of the FDR Four Freedoms Park, New York 
from a Feng Shui Perspective with Master RD Chin 
Full Moon 
Friday, Octobe...
Based on the Five Element theory, the stairs symbolize “Water feeding the 
Wood” trees. RD, who worked with the late maste...
Placing The Ba-Gua And The Establishing The Mouth Of Ch'i 
The Ba-Gua is one of the many feng 
shui design tools where one...
Placing the ba-gua over Roosevelt Island 
• both Heather and John : the majority of visitors come from Manhattan by 
tram ...
Defining the “Yin & Yang” aspects and 
Evaluating the park according to the Five Elements 
• Hard granite (yang) / soft gr...
Comments From Participants 
• Billie: “it reminds us that the ancient Greeks regarded architecture as the highest 
art for...
Summary 
There is no right or wrong way of positioning the Ba-Gua; all interpretations are 
interesting perspectives of th...
Although each 
participant of this tour 
had an interpretation 
and perception of the 
park, we all left with a 
sense of ...
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A Feng Shui tour of the FDR Four Freedoms Park in NYC with master RD Chin

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A tour of the FDR Four Freedoms park with master RD Chin, feng shui architect, and his students applying Feng Shui principles to the site.

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A Feng Shui tour of the FDR Four Freedoms Park in NYC with master RD Chin

  1. 1. Visit of the FDR Four Freedoms Park, New York from a Feng Shui Perspective with Master RD Chin Full Moon Friday, October 18, 2013 (from left to right) Joyce Hata, Michelle Lyon, Sheila Brody, Billie Sutter, Kyle Freeman, John Conaty RD Chin, Heather Chin, Leticia Villeneuve With sincere thanks to John Conaty, architect who gave us the guided tour of the park and to Gina Pollara, executive director of the FDR FFP, who helped create this special event. Summary of Comments General The park is designed as a symmetrical plan, leading us to the bust of FDR and creating a forced perspective (1-point perspective in 3 dimensions). The five beech trees (could be interpreted as the Five Elements) positioned between the ruins and the monumental stairs leading to the park represent a buffer between the very “yin” or “dead” building energy balancing the trees which represent uprising and “alive” life force “yang” wood energy. The four spaces between the trees represent the Four Freedoms.
  2. 2. Based on the Five Element theory, the stairs symbolize “Water feeding the Wood” trees. RD, who worked with the late master architect, Paul Rudolph, mentioned that Rudolph always considered that “stairs are like water gently falling along the slope”. The whole structure is very flat and horizontal and connected to the Earth ch'i; the trees are vertically connecting to the Heaven ch'i. The universal Trinity is completed by the visitors symbolizing Human ch’i. This is the harmonious connection of “Heaven, Humanity and Earth”. Interestingly, Paul Goldberger, architectural critic for Vanity Fair, mentioned that the structure represents the “past, the present and the future”. And someone mentioned the connection of the past (ruins), the present (FDR and the Four Freedoms) and the future (the United Nations). The granite chosen, from Mount Airy North Carolina, has the lightest color from the other stone samples and its honed finish has an overall satin-feel and smoothness. In sunlight, the reflection is very luminous and expansive; in rainy weather, the room looks and feels like a black and white photograph as experienced by John during his many visits. Interestingly, from a feng shui perspective: The park was constructed from the tip of the island towards the ruins; following the chi flow of the East River....very similar to the construction of the Louvre museum in Paris where its additions followed the flow of the Seine River. The natural chi energy of the river is so powerful that its strong currents affect the direction of the building of these monumental structures. Aerial view of the United Nations, the East River and Roosevelt Island
  3. 3. Placing The Ba-Gua And The Establishing The Mouth Of Ch'i The Ba-Gua is one of the many feng shui design tools where one can interpret various qualities of our life. It can be placed over a room, a building, a neighborhood and it can even be placed over the island of Manhattan or Roosevelt Island! Ba means the number“8” in Chinese and Gua represents the trigram or the 3 lines - a combination of solid and broken lines - from the I-Ching, which is the Chinese “Book of Changes”. Placing the bagua over Manhattan • RD : placed from the East Rising Sun, Roosevelt Island is located in the “career” gua; the financial district is then in the “family” area. • RD : placed from New Jersey, Roosevelt Island is in the “fame and reputation” gua, with the tip and the sacred room located energetically in the “marriage/relationship/commitment” gua. • Manu : placed from the financial district, Roosevelt Island is in the “helpful people / travel” gua. • and Placed from the Statue of Liberty, Roosevelt Island is in the “children / creativity / future” gua.
  4. 4. Placing the ba-gua over Roosevelt Island • both Heather and John : the majority of visitors come from Manhattan by tram or the F train stop; by placing the ba-gua from this direction, the park encompasses all three areas: the “marriage/relationship/commitment “gua , the “children and the future” gua, and the “helpful people/travel” gua. Placing the ba-gua over the park itself • Kyle : as people are entering the park, at the stairs; the tip and the sacred room are then in the “fame and reputation” gua. • Billie and Leticia : placed from the tip, the room is in the “career” gua and the five beech trees are in the “fame and reputation” gua; from this direction and applying the Five Elements = Wood is now feeding the Fire = a very constructive or nurturing cycle of energy. Fire is also represented by the triangular shape. • Leticia : felt the main ch'i was heavenly because it entered into the room from the sky and the universe, supported by earth ch'i (the granite itself and the strong structure) and nurtured by human ch'i (visitors). • Joyce and Michelle : also felt this way Summary comments • Billie : ultimately, it doesn't really matter where we place the ba-gua, since the island encompasses all viewpoints. •RD reminds us part of Professor Lin Yun's teachings about how we are like the blind man trying to define the elephant. The ba-gua is simply a profound tool to give us different insights for any situation.
  5. 5. Defining the “Yin & Yang” aspects and Evaluating the park according to the Five Elements • Hard granite (yang) / soft grass and delicate linden trees (yin) • Matte granite (yin) / shiny (yang) and glowing aspect thanks to the sun (also, the polished 1 inch space between the granite slabs) • In the quiet, peaceful and meditative sacred “room” (yin), the massive structure has a very open and light feeling (yang) due to the polished 1 inch slit which allows the light to pour into the “room”. It feels like a modern day Stonehenge depending on the hour of the day. • The park represents a perfect balance of the Five Elements : oFire : the plan of the trees is designed as a triangle or “fire” shape; the linden trees also have a pointed triangular look. oEarth : the structure is flat and built with granite. View of the grass towards the ruins from the FDR bust is rectangular or “earth” shape. oMetal : the overall color of the park is white (associated with Metal) as is the light color of the granite paving and walls. oWater : the park is surrounded by water, the staircase also represents the water element. oWood : the columnar structure of the room; the uprising trunks of the beech and linden trees. It is interesting to note that the linden trees were carefully chosen and selected for this site: they have the ability to change color during each season expressing their ever changing foliage.
  6. 6. Comments From Participants • Billie: “it reminds us that the ancient Greeks regarded architecture as the highest art form, combining mathematics and beauty. Also, Einstein said everything is vibration.” • RD : “when we visited 246 East 58th Street which was designed by the late master architect, Paul Rudolph, he considered architecture to be “frozen music”. The design of this park is like a symphony of shapes and rhythms. • Kyle : “Roosevelt is like a Jesus figure, taking all the negative chi energy and transmuting everything into positive chi; the park allows for a transformative experience, almost like a sacred labyrinth.” • RD : “the room represents a transcendental space; from the material world to pure white energy; it's an incredible ch'i transfusion!” • John : “the park takes your breath away twice: 1. walking up the stairs and looking towards the expansive lawn and trees and then 2. just being present in the “room” looking at the engraving of the Four Freedoms.” • John : “Louis Kahn called the room an “insight”.” • Leticia : “the shape of the park, converging, like a funnel, to the figure of FDR is almost like a womb; and the room is where we are (re)born; similarly to the Mexican expression of giving birth : Giving into the light “dar a luz”. • Billie : “it is also like a tunnel towards death and the white light.” • RD : “the tip is the ultimate combination of “yin and yang” balance with its intimate feel of the sanctuary of a cathedral combined with an expansive feel and openness towards the water and the heavens.”
  7. 7. Summary There is no right or wrong way of positioning the Ba-Gua; all interpretations are interesting perspectives of this beautiful park. The impression of simplicity and minimalism of the park allows for a complex experience of the senses, of the heart and of the mind. John shared his personal experiences and responsibilities as the on-site architect was to be in charge of quality control during construction i.e. rejecting granite pieces with salad oil, observing the 1/8'' tolerance for the sizes of the granite slabs, the spaces created with polished surfaces, and the alignment of the two aisles of 60 trees to appear as one tree on each side of the granite block with FDR’s inscription are just some of the stories that make the park seem even more alive with Louis Kahn’s chi energy! His rigorous adherence to the integrity of the design concept and details make John, a very “helpful person” working as part of a visionary team of people who all became the protectors and guardians of Mr. Kahn's vision and the park's grandeur.
  8. 8. Although each participant of this tour had an interpretation and perception of the park, we all left with a sense of awe and a wonderful feeling of inspiration and serenity. ______________________________________________________________________________ Authors and photographs of this feng shui report and evaluation by RD Chin (rdchin@mac.com) and Leticia Villeneuve (letijoya@sympatico.ca) For any questions or additional comments, please feel free to contact us. For a well documented article on the history and stories about the memorial, I encourage you to read online: The Pennsylvania Gazette, March/April 2013 “Constructing a New Kahn” http://www.upenn.edu/gazette/0313/feature2_1.html left: our feng shui group right: John and RD

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