The Lombardo Welcome Center has been in progress since 2015 and this week it officially opened to prospective students and their families. Many know about the sustainable design behind the net zero energy building but most may not know about the feng shui principles that went into the design of the new Welcome Center.
Feng shui is a method of placement and design of the subtle forces of nature to help individuals achieve health, happiness and success. It was developed in China 5,000 years ago after the discovery that crop production was directly related to the positioning of the mountain and the relationship between the water and the land.
Sam Lombardo, the donor whose gift has supported the Welcome Center, suggested that feng shui should be considered when designing the building. Lombardo and his wife, Dena, are not new to feng shui. The Lombardo’s have included feng shui in their personal residences as well as The Benecon Group locations, which Sam is the founder, CEO and Chairman. When the time came to find a feng shui consultant, the Lombardo’s knew the person to ask. Melani Lewandowski has been the Lombardo’s feng shui consultant for the past 12 years. After suffering health issues while being a corporate executive, a friend suggested researching feng shui and she has been a full-time consultant since 1991.
Lewandowski describes feng shui as, “Designing the environment so one feels as if they have the stability, protection and support of a mountain at one’s back. One is positively and productively stimulated by the essence of ‘water’ or movement in front of one. Water essence provides clarity, stimulates wisdom and rational thinking.”
In the Lombardo Welcome Center, there were many components in which Feng Shui input was used. When it came to interior design, the reception area was a main focus. The design for the front and rear doors changed from the original plans so the flow from the front to rear door are not directly opposite of each other. They also modified the reception desk to have a curve, which creates a more relaxed energy as well as the degree to which the bathroom protruded into the reception area.
For the exterior design, it was important to have a strong visual presence when you make the turn onto James Street from N. George Street. One thing that is very interesting is the address of the new building: 88 James St. is also feng shui inspired. Lewandowski said, “The number ‘8’ is very auspicious in feng shui. The shape of the number is similar to the infinity symbol, a continuous uninterrupted flow. This stimulates financial abundance and prosperity. The ‘double 8’ resonates to double happiness. The uplifting shape of ‘8’ has a subliminal influence for people as they write the number. And also as they see it in physical form.” The number 8 is also associated with energy with nature and the earth, which fits well with the net-zero building. Steve Strock was a critical part of getting this address and getting the Fire Marshall to approve the change.