Why Hong Kong’s Buildings Are Full of Holes
Hong Kong Repulse Bay building

Have you ever noticed that Hong Kong’s skyscrapers have got holes in them? These are known as dragon gates, and based on the Chinese theory of feng shui these kinds of openings enable dragons to fly from the mountains to the water each day. It is believed that obstructing the dragon’s route could possibly bring misfortune.

The Repulse Bay is a luxury apartment complex in Hong Kong which is well-known in the community for the strange hole cut into the body of its undulating façade. It is far from alone. Across the coastline of Hong Kong Island, there are actually several buildings with gaps in their midst.

These openings, typically rectangle-shaped, are classic examples of feng shui at work. Feng shui (literally, “wind” and “water”) is the ancient Chinese practice of aligning buildings and objects so that they are in a harmonious relationship with nature, so as to attract good luck and ward off misfortune.

Bank of China Building

Some of the buildings such as the Bank of China Tower have been blamed regularly for driving companies out of business, this is mainly since it does not have the ‘hole’ in the skyscraper, leading to them having bad feng shui. Watch the video from VOX Borders for a more in depth look on the issue.

In fact, one can find often more practical explanations than feng shui for hollowing out a hole of what may have been prime real estate property. Even though Repulse Bay hole was not influenced by feng shui, the “spirit dragon” theory emerged locally, after the building had been completed in 1982. It made it easier for Hong Kong residents to make peace with the new building, when it replaced the old colonial building that had been torn down to make way for the then super contemporary building.

In the 1980s, developers began to build rows of high-rise blocks called “wall-effect buildings,” which led to more holes added to Hong Kong’s architectural panorama. A lot of the time, when the authorities permits sites to be built on, it is going to request a gap to be left in between buildings, but perhaps there really is not adequate room to accomplish this. Then a compromise is agreed upon and thus a gap in the middle is created. With the new hole there is now air flow, there is still a view.

But then again, maybe it’s really just the dragon’s roaming in the hills of Hong Kong and bringing luck to those who do not stand in their way. If you’re interested in learning more about feng shui in Hong Kong, you can contact the Hong Kong Tourist Bureau for information on their Feng Shui tour.