Vastu: Key Design Principles

Summary: Several key principles for the design, layout and orientation of life-enhancing buildings constucted to the rules of Vedic Architecture (Vastu or Sthapatya Veda) are discussed

Vedic Architecture considers a number of key principles in the design of a building:

  • The purpose for which the building will be used, e.g. domestic, commercial, civic, etc. and the requirements of the occupants.
  • Proximity of favourable and unfavourable influences from the surrounding environment. For example, living within 1 mile of a prison, hospital or cemetery is considered unfavourable. The effects of nearby lakes, streams, etc. are also considered.
  • The building’s orientation: Considered to be an extremely important factor [1]. The building is aligned with the four cardinal directions. Entrance directions are planned – East facing entrances are considered life enhancing, North facing are fine, but South facing ones detrimental.
  • The ratio and proportions for dividing up the plot and the building floor area into rooms and the geometry of features such as windows, doors, roof, plinth, etc. For example, a square floor plan divided into 9 equal smaller squares (i.e. a simple 3 by 3 grid) is very beneficial, with key rooms each allocated to one smaller square – except the centre one which is left unoccupied. All building’s dimensions, perimeters, etc., are calculated according to the Vastu Formulae. The building may also be customized according to the prospective owners Vedic astrological chart.
  • Placement and allocation of rooms: Considerations as to which rooms such as kitchen, bedrooms, etc. are allocated to the optimum directions and segment of the building appropriate to their specific activity e.g. kitchen in the South-east, master bedroom in South-west, no toilets in North-East.
  • Buildings benefit from a central ‘quiet’ Brahmasthan area where there is no activity. For two or more story buildings, light entering from roof level onto this quiet ground floor area is also beneficial.
  • The size, shape and slope of the building plot and how it is demarcated from its surroundings.  A Vastu designed building is always surrounded by a Vastu fence or ‘compound’ wall of designated proportions – although the materials can vary.
  • The use of local, sustainable building materials for the project and any national or regional architectural styles.
  • Building work is commenced on auspicious days according to the principles of Jyotish (Vedic astrology). Vedic ceremonies are performed at key stages of the build: ground breaking, laying cornerstone and when first moving in.
  • Local planning rules, regulations and ordinances.


[1] The building’s orientation was considered to be an extremely important factor by the enlightened Vedic scholar Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Additional Information

Frequently asked questions on Vastu FAQs – 1, FAQs – 2, FAQ’s – 3

There is an informative article on the Vastu Shastra (teachings on Vastu) on Wikipedia

A view from Australia, on the application of Sthapatya Veda

An application of Vedic Architecture principles to a garden village in the UK