The world today is facing an escalating energy issue and there is a growing need to develop sustainable design for many kinds of functional buildings, including high-rise buildings and skyscrapers. As an expert in eco-architecture and green building master plan, Ken Yeang, an Eco-Architect and Principal of T.R Hamzah & Yeang, delves deeper into the area as he seeks to emphasize the bioclimatic building design – which focuses on local climate, aiming at providing the health and well-being of the occupants through improved thermal and visual comfort, making use of solar energy and other environmental sources.
Ken Yeang, talks exclusively with AsiaGreenBuildings on the implementation of bio-climatic architecture on skyscrapers across Asia and how it eventually affects the definition of Eco-Architecture that builds the future of the industry.
How do you define “Eco-Architecture” in today’s Asian landscape ?
An ideal eco-architecture is a building that does no harm to the natural environment, and bio-integrate seamlessly and benignly with the natural environment and the biosphere. This is of course a general abstract statement. Making this work successfully in detail is the challenge of ecological design. Eco-architecture is a building that meets these objectives and is, at the same time, a work of ’architecture’ that is aesthetically fulfilling and gives pleasure to its users.
Many skyscrapers you’ve designed use a relatively large amount of glass – how does this align with the idea of green building performance as well as bio-climatic architecture ?
Nothing wrong with using extensive glass. It all depends on what type of glass it is.
There are different types of glass and façade systems. The façade can have solar shading to reduce solar insulation and glare. It can have double layers to increase its insulation value. It can have sun-shading properties to eliminate excessive heat from solar insolation. These can be ‘low-e’ (low emissivity) glass, or the latest glass with embedded material that responds electronically to the sun’s position to retain suitable internal conditions without the need of any sun-shading.
Can you share some of the best practices of Eco Architecture that deliver positive environmental impacts ?
There are a number of best practices. Many of my imitators think that all we do is just put vegetation into our buildings. But actually, we do much more than just that.
We create a variety of wildlife habitats within our buildings and its surroundings so that the entire building becomes a ‘living system’; (which we refer as a ‘constructed ecosystem’). Each habitat has the appropriate native flora and landscape conditions that will attract the desired native fauna (that are not hazardous to humans) to enhance the biodiversity of the locality.
About T.R Hamzah & Yeang Sdn. Bhd.
T.R Hamzah & Yeang Sdn. Bhd. is an international architect and planning firm with its HQ in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with a branch office in China, Norindar Hamzah Yeang Architectural and Engineering Company (Beijing) and with a sister company in the UK, Llewelyn Davies Yeang.
The firm has been in operation since 1975 and is best known for designing signature, deep green and innovative buildings and masterplans that go beyond conventional accreditation systems. It pioneered the design of passive low-energy tall buildings, known as ‘bioclimatic skyscrapers’. The firm’s ecological design approach and techniques seek to integrate our built systems benignly and seamlessly with the nature environment. The firm has in-house GBI Facilitators and its expertise includes designing high performance architecture, ecological and urban design and masterplanning and site planning, green interior design, R & D (in building systems and building technologies).
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