|Born||1948 (age 64–65)
|Practice||Llewelyn Davies Ken Yeang Ltd.
T. R. Hamzah & Yeang
|Buildings||Menara Mesiniaga, National Library of Singapore|
Ken Yeang (Chinese: 杨经文/楊經文; pinyin: Yáng Jīngwén; born 1948) is a Malaysian architect, ecologist and author known for his signature ecological green architecture and masterplans, differentiated by an environmentally authentic ecology-based approach. Yeang is an early pioneer carrying out design and research in ecological design and planning since 1971, driven by the belief in ecodesign as the basis for saving the planet. He is named by the Guardian as "one of the 50 people who could save the planet" 
His key built works include the Roof-Roof House (Malaysia), Menara Mesiniaga (an IBM franchise) (Malaysia), National Library Singapore (Singapore), Solaris (Singapore), Spire Edge Tower (India), DiGi Data Centre (Malaysia), Ganendra Art House (Malaysia), Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital Extension (under Llewelyn Davies Yeang, UK), Genome Research Building (Hong Kong).
His awards received include PAM (Malaysia Institute of Architects) Gold Medal, Prinz Claus Award (Netherlands), Auguste Perret Award (UIA), Aga Khan Award for Architecture (Geneva), Merdeka Award (Malaysia),
Yeangs headquarter office, in Kuala Lumpur is T. R. Hamzah and Yeang (since 1975) with a UK office in London, Ken Yeang Design International/Llewelyn Davies Ken Yeang Ltd.
T. R. Hamzah & Yeang was formed in 1975 with Tengku Datuk Robert Hamzah, his contemporary at the AA School, and a prince in the Malay Royal family.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Career
- 3 Ecoarchitecture
- 4 Work on the theory of ecological design
- 5 Key projects
- 6 Recognition and awards
- 7 Exhibitions
- 8 Notable projects
- 9 Publications
- 10 Sources
- 11 Footnotes
- 12 External links
Early life and education
Born in 1948 in Penang, Malaysia, Yeang grew up in a tropical Modernist house designed by Iversen van Sitteren. Yeang attended Penang Free School till 1961 when he attended Cheltenham Boys College, a British public school in Gloucestershire.
Yeang obtained his qualifications in architecture from the Architectural Association School in London (AA) taught by Elia Zengelis, Charles Jencks, Dennis Sharp, Martin Pawley et al. In 1969, he interned at the Singapore architect practice of S.T. S. Leong, before returning to the AA to complete his diploma under Peter Cook. He worked briefly at Louis de Soisson Partnership and also did free-lance illustrations for the AA, AD and AAQ magazines. He received a PhD in ecological design and planning from Cambridge University Department of Architecture, writing his doctoral thesis, "A Theoretical Framework for Incorporating Ecological Considerations in the Design and Planning of the Built Environment", published as Designing with Nature (McGraw-Hill, USA, 1995) (republished as "Proyectar Con La Naturaleza", Editorial Gustavo Gili, S.A., 1995) that became the springboard for his work on ecoarchitecture and ecocity masterplanning.
Yeang attended courses on ecology at the Department of Environmental Biology at Cambridge University under Professor J.W.L. Beament, and attended briefly the ecological land use planning course at the University of Pennsylvania, Department of Landscape Architecture under Professor Ian McHarg. He became a member of the British Ecological Society.
He is registered as a professional architect with ARB (Architects Registration Board) (UK), RIBA (Royal Institute of Architects) (UK), PAM (Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia), SIA (Singapore Institute of Architects) since 1972.
Yeang attended courses in business management at the Malaysian Institute of Management, the Singapore Institute of Management and a short course at Harvard Business School.
In 1975 Yeang worked in Akitek Bersekutu (Kuala Lumpur) under Hijjas Kasturi, David Joyce, Nik Yusof and Tan Toh Hock. In 1976 he formed a partnership with a fellow AA graduate, Tengku Datuk Robert Hamzah, who had earlier started a practice as T. R. Hamzah & Rakan-Rakan.
The Malaysia company, T. R. Hamzah and Yeang Sdn. Bhd. has offices in the UK as Llewelyn Davies Ken Yeang Ltd. and in China as North Hamzah Yeang Architectural and Engineering Company (Beijing), a joint venture with Norinco with branch offices in Shenzen, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xi'an and Chongqing.
Yeang has completed over 12 bioclimatic eco high-rise buildings, several thousand dwellings (terraced houses), over two million sq.ft. of interior design space, numerous ecomasterplans and ecocity designs, and in totality has completed over a hundred building projects of all types worldwide.
Yeang lectures extensively (over 30 countries worldwide) at conferences and schools of architecture on his ideas and work on ecological design and masterplanning.
Both a practising professional and a research academic, Yeang is the Distinguished Plym Professor at University of Illinois, and has been the Professor of Practice at Texas A & M University, the Graham Willis Professor at University of Sheffield, the Provost’s Distinguished Visiting Scholar at University of Southern California, Advisory Professor at Tongji University (Shanghai), Honorary Professor at University of Hong Kong, Adjunct Professor at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, University of Hawaii, University of New South Wales, Curtin University, University of Malaya, Deakin University and the Visiting Eminent Scholar at Florida Atlantic University.
Yeang's mother's will (2002) appointed him the trustee and chairman of the family's property holding, investment and development company, The Yeangs Sdn. Bhd., which he manages integral with his architect firm.
Yeang had served as Board member of the public listed MBf's MBf Unit Property Trust and the Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia (Malaysian Institute of Architects) Education Fund.
Yeang's work on ecological design is held to be the state-of-the-art green architecture and ecocity planning which advances beyond rating systems such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) or BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) based in an approach based on ecology and environmental biology..
It is this empirically ecology based approach that enables him to progress green design at several dimensions concurrently - architecturally, theoretically, technically and aesthetically.
The PBS documentary design/e2 (2006) refers to Yeang's work, '..wind, rain and sun in the minds of most architects, they are enemies. But what if buildings can utilise and respond to the conditions of the environment? What if the urban environment itself became a living breathing organism? For Ken Yeang it is...'.
In 2011, Fast Company magazine listed T. R. Hamzah & Yeang as among the top 8 innovative architect companies.
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Yeang's early work applies bioclimatic (climate-responsive) principles to building design to create low-energy passive-mode buildings. This climate-responsiveness approach engenders critical regionalist features in his work where the climatic responses of the design provide the links to its locality. The bioclimatic approach subsequently became the underlying armature for his ecological design agenda.
The 'Roof-Roof' House (1985), his own house at the edge of Kuala Lumpur, is his early experimental bioclimatic built work. The dwelling with several experimental ideas within a single built form, has an identifiable dramatic curved louvered upper roof-structure as an umbrella-like 'environmental filter' that functions as a solar-filtering device and a second shading roof (hence its name 'Roof-Roof') that shades the building's lower roof terrace. The large louvers are angled to let in the easterly morning sun but keep out the hot mid-day and western sun. It has side 'wind wing-walls' at the south to direct wind into the dining area. On the east is a pool that besides being a pool for swimming also functions as an evaporative-cooling device to cool the predominantly easterly breeze before entering the adjoining internal living spaces. This small building's many features make it an instructive reference prototype for bioclimatic climate-responsive architecture. The influences of its built form and bioclimatic ideas can be found in Yeang's later work.
Yeang applied these bioclimatic passive-mode principles to the high-rise tower typology, a builtform he considers requires revisioning. He contention is that the high-rise tower as an intensive builtform will not go away overnight because of the existent economic basis for its existence arising from high urban land values and the need to accommodate rapid urban growth. He sought to find ecologically benign ways to make this built form green and humane to inhabit. He built several experimental climate-responsive and ecodesigned towers from the mid-1970s to present day (e.g. the Plaza Atrium with the giant wind-scoop, Menara Boustead with the planted sky-terraces, Plaza IBM with the continuous system of stepped-planters, Central Plaza with its solar oriented facade, Solaris with its continuous vegetated spiraling ramp, Spire Edge with its vertical green ecoinfrastructure).
The Mesiniaga Tower (IBM Franchise) is regarded as his most didactic climate-responsive tower, where his various earlier experimental 'bioclimatic skyscraper' ideas are bought together in a single builtform, such as the placement of the elevator core as a solar buffer at the tower's hot side, the placement of toilets and stairwells to receive natural ventilation opportunities, the various solar-path shaped sun-shades, the use of an evaporative-cooling pool at the uppermost roof level, the overhead louvered canopy as a framework for future PV cells, the vegetated and stepped facade-recessed sky-terraces as interstitial semi-enclosed spaces for the building's users. The building is characteristic of Yeang's work in an ideas-driven approach. This seminal building received several awards including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (1993), The Malaysian Institute of Architects Award, the Singapore Institute of Architects Award, The Royal Australian Institute of Architects Award and a citation from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
Yeang continues to pursue and develop these bioclimatic passive-mode design ideas and devices to other low-rise and medium-rise building types, now with ecological features and at other climatic zones.
Largely the result of his high-rise experimental work and his book, The Skyscraper, Bioclimatically Considered (publ. John Wiley & Sons, UK, 1997) Yeang is credited as the inventor of the 'bioclimatic skyscraper' as a genre of the tall building type. University of Washington's Professor Udo Kulterman states, “..Professor Ken Yeang is internationally renowned as the 'father' of the sustainable bioclimatic building..".
In the 1990s, Yeang started work on designing the high-rise typology as 'vertical green urbanism'. He sought to reinvent the skyscraper typology as a form of 'vertical urban design'.
His ideas invert the high-rise typology to be now designed as a 'city-in-the-sky', or what he refers as 'vertical urban design' which he first exemplified in his high-rise National Library Singapore (2005). The building features large 40m high 'public realms-in-the sky' in the form of two verdantly landscaped 'skycourt gardens', a ground plane as an 'open-to-the-sky' plaza for public festivals and culturally-related activities. The thickened first floor slab over the plaza functions bioclimatically as an evaporative-cooling mass to the public realm below. Multiple upper-level sky-bridges link the building's two blocks (one regular-shaped block containing the library's book collections and the other, a 'banana-shaped' block for the library's programming activities. There is a naturally-ventilated atrium between the two blocks, covered by a ventilating louvered canopy over the entire built form that serves as its 'fifth facade'. There are two multi-volume reading rooms are located at either sides of the book collections block. At the uppermost roof level is a promontory viewing pod. The building's built form has an organic geometry in Yeang's on-going explorations to derive an ecological aesthetic. The building is well built without being elaborately detailed. The building is BCA-rated Green Mark Platinum.
Yeang's ideas for an urban park-in-the-sky in the high-rise building type is manifested as a 'vertical linear park' in his Solaris Building (2011) at 1-North Singapore that is a benchmark building in his green agenda for designing buildings as 'constructed living systems' (see his 'biodiversity targets matrix' in the GyeonGi Masterplan, Seoul, Korea). The building has an ecologically-linked vegetated pedestrian walkway ramp that is 1.3 km in length as a 'vertical linear park', punctuated by sky garden terraces located at each of the building's corners, and further linked to a mid-level and to the uppermost-level roof gardens.
His ideas for a vertical linear park and vertical urbanism were first explored in his unbuilt EDITT Tower (Waterloo Road, Singapore). This idea is further developed in his Solaris building. The Solaris also has an 'ecocell' (a green integrative device first presented in his masterplan for Kowloon Waterfront masterplan, Hong Kong). The Solaris has side 'rain-check' glazed-walls at the ground floor's facades facing a non-airconditoned space, and a central trim with automated-operated glass-louvres over the atrium with sensors that open and shut the louvers when required to ventilate the atrium and the ground floor. The building is BCA-rated Green Mark Platinum.
The Solaris' vertical linear park device led to his concept of the continuous 'green ecoinfrastructure', a device that enables a vital ecological nexus between the built form and its surrounding landscape and hinterland, that became a crucial biodiversity component in all his subsequent masterplanning and ecocity design work (e.g. the iconic SOMA Masterplan in Bangalore, India) and in his architecture (e.g. the Spire Edge Tower in Gurgaon, India, completion c. 2013). This green ecoinfrastructure concept led to his developing a unifying platform for ecomasterplanning that is the "weaving together of 'four ecoinfrastructures' into a unified system" (see below).
Yeang worked on the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital Extension (London, UK) (completed 2011) as a green healthcare facility. The building has a corner mixed-mode flue-wall providing natural ventilation during the mid-seasons to the Walt Disney operated ground floor Cafe), a sedum-planted roof, various low energy building systems (CHP, etc.), use of green materials, etc. The building is BREEAM rated 'excellent'.
His contribution to masterplanning is the development of a 'platform' for designing ecomasterplans and ecocities. The approach regards designing buuldings and masterplans as 'total living systems' that are both interactive and functional through the biointegration of 'four ecoinfrastructural armatures' into an overall coherent system: 1) the 'green infrastructure' (described here as 'nature's utilities') which includes ecological corridors and networks that link existent and new open spaces and provide habitats for fauna and flora, for natural resource management and integrated urban food production systems, etc.), 2) the 'grey infrastructure' which includes cleantech ecoengineering systems such as sustainable energy systems, transportation/movement systems, natural sewage systems, materials recycling systems (including DFD or 'Designing For Disassembly’ construction), bioclimatic enclosural systems, green hardscapes and other green engineering utilities; 3) the 'blue infrastructure' which includes hydrological management, the 'closing' of the water cycle, water conservation and management, grey water reuse. rainwater harvesting, sustainable drainage including the use of bioswales, filtration strips, black water treatment, detention ponds as storm water management systems. 4) the 'red infrastructure' requiring creating sustainable human ways of life and societal activities which include creating new green lifestyles, providing new sustainable food production and distribution systems, green human laws and legislative systems, revisioning existent socio-economic, industrial and political systems into sustainable systems, etc.
This approach to ecocity design and ecomasterplanning provides an indeterminate general framework that enables an inclusivity of constantly changing complex factors and technologies, with a flexibility that allows for technological obsolescence while encouraging innovation.
Aesthetics of ecoarchitecture
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Yeang pursuit of ecoarchitecture and ecomasterplanning theories, concepts and ideas have been carried out in parallel with an exploration for an 'ecological aesthetic', encouraged by his former PhD Supervisor at Cambridge University, Professor John Frazer, in questioning ".. what a green building and masterplan should look like.."?
Yeang contends that an ecological architectural aesthetic should resemble a living system, looking natural and hirsutely verdant with nature and its processes visible in the biointegration of the synthetic builtform'ss physical constituents (abiotic) with the native fauna, flora (the biotic constituents) and the environmental biological processes of the land. He contends that much of existent architecture and masterplans that lay claim tby other elsewhere to be sustainable are simply commonly-styled or iconically-styled builtforms stuffed internally with ecoengineering gadgetry and with occasional vegetation in its upper open courts. Yeang contends that an ecoarhitecture and an ecocity should be 'alive' as a living system, analogous to a constructed ecosystem and not 'de-natured' nor look predominantly inorganic, artificial and synthetic. He adopts these assertions as the basis for his ecoarchitecture.
Yeang contends that ecoarchitecture and ecomasterplans demand their own identifiable 'style'. It is this distinctive green vegetated ecoaesthetic in Yeang's architecture and masterplans that brought international attention to his work. His ecoaesthetic does not have the shape or form that in any way resemble existent architectural styles. This aesthetic is an independent aesthetic that encompasses ecodesign holistically and which comes from an interpretation, an understanding and the inclusion of ecological constituents and processes of its locality in its built form. This can be regarded as an emergent ecological aesthetic, where its shapes and forms have a nexus with adjoining ecosystems, which harmonise with the site’s ecology, enhance local biodiversity, besides having other eco performance features such denying negative consequences, avert polluting emissions, be more energy and water efficient and carbon neutral than conventional buildings, and other ecodesign attributes. He sees the ecoarchitecture as designed like a 'constructed living system'. Lord Norman Foster of Thames Bank refers to Yeang's ecoaesthetics, '.. Ken Yeang has developed a distinctive architectural vocabulary that extends beyond questions of style to confront issues of sustainability and how we can build in harmony of the natural world..' (2011).
Yeang's work in his relentless pursuit of an original biointegrated 'ecological aesthetic' can be regarded as Yeang’s other contribution to this field.
Work on the theory of ecological design
Yeang is uniquely both a theoretician and a seasoned designer. The theoretical rigorousness in his work firmly underpins and legitimises his ecological architecture and masterplanning work and gives them critical substance that anchors his ecodesign work. Yeang's writings, built and theoretical work have contributed significantly in advancing this field of endeavor. His earlier Cambridge doctoral dissertation (1975) presents a unifying comprehensive theoretical model for ecodesign, still remaining valid today, defines the prime factors in ecodesign in the form of four sets of interrelated 'environmental interactions', which he assembles in a mathematical 'partitioned-matrix' of four sets of interdependent environmental interactions. This theoretical model continues to serve as the underlying guiding framework for his present ecoarcitecure and ecomasterplanning work.
He recognized over 4 decades ago that human's callous environmental devastations and contamination of the natural environment will adversely affect the planet's natural balance, its ecosystems biodiversity and its biospheric processes (causing global warming and climate change). It is this insight then in the early 1970s that led him to do research in this field for a doctorate in ecological design and planning at Cambridge University (UK).
Because ecodesign in the 1970s did not have the benefit of prior research, theoretical models and frameworks, nor engineering support, Yeang early years involved empirical research, experimental design, and investigative studies of ecological processes that he could replicate or mimic in his humanmade structures. His research work is published in several key books including, Designing with Nature (1995), The Skyscraper, Bioclimatically Considered: A Design Primer(1997), The Green Skyscraper: The Basis for Designing Sustainable Intensive Buildings (Prestel), Ecodesign: A Manual for Ecological Design (2006), Eco-Masterplanning (2009), Eco Design Dictionary (an illustrated reference with co-author Lillian Woo, 2009)). He is currently researching for a monograph, Ecomimesis: Bases for Designing the Built Environment, on the mimicry of the ecological properties and attributes of ecosystems (Publ. by Taylor and Francis).
Yeang’s recent projects show the maturing of his design work with a growing complexity and confidence in creating an ecoarchitecture asa 'livimg system' with an evident greening and vertical landscaping that defines and becomes his own identifiable architectural style. With the high level of verdant landscape in his builtforms, whether externally (or placed internally within the builtform forr climatic protection in his projects in temperate and cold climates), his ecoaesthetic is described by his colleagues as 'indeterminate', 'hairy', 'constructed habitats'. 'vertical landscaping'.
The most significant impact of Yeang's work on architecture might be his revisioning of architectural design to no longer be designing simply synthetic and inanimate objects, but as the complex creation of built structures as 'constructed living systems' (that must also address the usuall other users' programmatic functions such as fulfilling their programmatic needs, creating vitally experiential and pleasurable spaces, etc.). Yeang now applies this concept of 'designing architecture as constructed ecological habitats' to all his work. This endeavor takes ecodesign beyond accrediratinn systems, to its next generation of green design, redefining the relationship of our human-made synthetic built systems with the ecology of the landscape, enabling a higher level of biointegration and biodiversity.
We might contend that in reviewing Yeang's oeuvre of design, built and theoretical work, his most important and instructive contribution to ecological design is his advancing the landmark macro ecology-based landuse planning approach of one of his mentors, the landscape architect Ian McHarg and then extending and articulating this ecomasterplannng work from its large-scale urban planning scale with its ecology-based approach to the 'micro level' of architectural design at the scale of the built form. This was an endeavour that McHarg had sought to do for his architect colleagues but unable to achieve, likely limited by being an landscape architect.
Carrying out an on-going in-house programme of research on ecodesign within his professional practice and undertaken over several decades, Yeang applies the research outcomes concurrently in his firm's design work. This two=prong approach of progressively developing a body of research basis for design and implementing this research in his design and built work led Yeang to being recognized internationally as a pioneer, advocate, writer and innovator in an authentic approach to ecological design. By the mid-1990s both private and public sector clients worldwide, dissatisfied with the limitations of conventional accreditation systems and with the ecoengineering-hardware based design approach of many others, sought Yeang for their signature (iconic) ecodesigned architecture projects, ecomasterplans and large scale ecocity designs.
Yeang's design work is characterized as ideas-driven builtform where each design expounds one or more of his newly invented eco systemic, eco technical ideas or novel device such as the 'eco landscape-bridge' and the 'eco-undercroft' (in the Guangzhou Masterplan, China and in the Cambaie Masterplan, La Reunion), the 'ecocell' (in the Kowloon Waterfront Masterplan, Hong Kong), the 'green ecoinfrastructure' (in the SOMA Masterplan, Bangalore, India), the continuous green-wall (in DiGi Data Centre in Shah Alam, Malaysia), the 'Vertical Linear Park' (in the Solaris building, in Singapore) and others.
His recent work explores the concept of 'ecomimicry' as designing the built environment as constructed ecosystems that mimic the processes, structure and attributes of ecosystems, such as ecosystem biological structure, ecosystem materials recycling, ecosystems increasing efficient energy use, etc. ‘Ecomimicry’ is a term he first used in his book, Ecodesign: A Manual for Ecological Design (2006). adopted from his early ideas and papers (in Yeang,K. (1974), "Bionics: The Use of Biological Analogies in Design", in AAQ No.4 (Architectural Association Quarterly), London, UK, in Yeang, K.(1972), "Bases for Ecosystem Design", in Architectural Design, Architectural Press, London (1973). the ideas can also be found in, 'Leaning From Nature: The Ecomimicry Project' (Marchall, Alex, poster paper, Environmental Education conference, Western Australia (2006). The term 'ecomimicry' is regarded by some as an outgrowth from the terms ‘biomimicry’ and 'ecomimetics'. Yeang's version of ecomimicry refers to physical, structural and systemic mimicry of ecosystems, and not to be mistaken with a simplistic 'visual' mimicry which he regards as superficial. This work is developed from his earlier research (in his Cambridge doctoral dissertation, 1974) on the use of biological analogies in design.
Fundamental to Yeang's design work is an ecological nexus as an ecoinfrastructure within the built structure. All of Yeang’s architecture and ecomasterplans have an internal as well as an external ecological connectivity within the built forms or masterplans that is connected to the landscape at the ground plane and where possible to the hinterland's natural landscape, and which further seek a benign and seamless biointegration between human activities and its built systems with the surrounding ecosystems in the landscape (e.g. in the Zorlu Masterplan, Istanbul, Turkey). He draws a systemic analogy here with 'prosthesis' in surgery where successful biointegration of our synthetic constructed systems with their host organism is crucial. He identifies three levels of designing for biointegration: physical, systemic, temporal.
Most of the current generation of architects and engineers approach “green” design and construction through cleantech ecoengineering ('ecogadgetry') or simply through compliance to green accreditation systems. To Yeang, while these practices are relevant and can be progressive, they do not constitute green design in an environmentally comprehensive and inclusive way inherent in an ecologically-based approach. Yeang states, “..it is easy to be misled or seduced by technology and to think that if we assemble enough eco-gadgetry (e.g. in the form of solar collectors, photovoltaic cells, biological recycling systems, building-automation systems and double-skin facades, etc.) in one single building that this can automatically be considered ecological architecture..". Yeang contends that although these engineering systems and technologies are commendable and useful components towards an ecological architecture and towards achieving an ecological outcome, he asserts that ecological design is not just about cleantech or ecoengineering or carbon neutral systems; but that ecotechnologies and engineering must be integrated with and be influenced by the ecology, climate and physical conditions of the landscape.
Our existent built environment is regarded as having alienated humans from nature, as aspect which he consider need=ing to be rectified. He defines ecodesign as 'achieving a benign and seamless biointegration of our built environment and human activities with the natural environment', He regards this biointegration function to include enhancing biodiversity, repairing human-caused fragmented ecosystems, enhancing ecological nexus (through devices such as eco landbridges, eco undercrofts, vertical green walls and landscaping), the use of ecocells for internal integrayinn of builtforms, repairing ecologically fragmented territory by ecological corridors and fingers to provide an ecological nexus to connect to the landscape and hinterland, minimising disruptions with adjoining ecosystems, maintaining sensitive ecobalance within habitats, enhancing existent urban greenery, reducing or having zero dependency on non-renewable sources of energy, designing for water conservation and management, providing sustainable drainage systems (including sustaimable drainage and use of constructed wetlands), using green building materials that are recyclable, reusable and re-integratable benignly back into the natural environment, and others. His recent advances (see below) include designing built systems as 'living systems' through designing to create 'constructed habitats' (in the Gyeongi Masterplan, Seoil, Korea).
Many mistakenly regard Yeang’s work as simply placing vegetation in his builtforms or as just creating an ecological nexus (continuous link) within his builtforms to enhance local biodiversity. Yeang’s work does more than the addition of greenery and landscaping in builtforms. What is unique is that he designs his buildings and ecomasterplans as total 'living systems' and as constructed ecosystems requiring the creation of new habitats within and around the development, involving the matching of selected native species with these constructed habitats, setting their ‘biodiversity targets’ to achieve the expected level of biodiversity by providing physical conditions within these habitats to enable the selected species to survive over the seasons of the year. In achieving this, his built work become more than just ‘vertically-landscaped architecture’ but are in effect constructed ‘living systems’. This designing of developments as living systems differentiates his work from the work of those who imitiate his work by just placement of planting within their builtforms.
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Monographs on Yeang’s work include by Robert Powell, Leon van Schaik, Ivor Richards. Sara Hart and others.
Yeang has completed over 200 projects since 1975. His benchmark buildings, projects and their innovations include:
- The Roof Roof House - Selangor, Malaysia (1985) – his own experimental climate-responsive house that rethought bioclimatic passive-mode low-energy building design.
- Menara Mesiniaga Tower - Selangor, Malaysia (1992) - a climate-responsive tower that exemplifies Yeang’s key principles for 'bioclimatic skyscraper' design, which received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the RAIA (Royal Australian Institute of Architects) International Award, the Malaysian institute of Architects Design Award.
- Kowloon Waterfront Masterplan - Hong Kong (c. 1998) - a green masterplan where Yeang developed the green ecoinfrastructure concept and the novel use of 'ecocells'.
- National Library - Singapore (2005) - a green library tower (120m) with large sky courts (40m high) that received the BCA Green Mark Platinum Award 2005, and the Singapore Institute of Architects Award.
- SOMA Masterplan - Bangalore, India (2006) - a signature ecomasterplan that espouses his innovative idea for ecocity masterplanning as the integration of four ecoinfrastructures, with the use of ecobrdges and ecoiundercrofts to enable ecological nexus.
- DiGi Technical Office - Shah Alam, Malaysia (2010) - that advances the idea of a 'living' ecowall as a nexus of greenery linking all the facades, that received the Malaysian Institute of Architects Design Award (Commendation, 2010) and Green Building Index Gold rating.
- Solaris - 1-north, Singapore (2010) - that has the innovative 1.5 km long 'Vertical Linear Park' that wraps itself around the tower’s facade enhancing the site's biodiversity, which received the SIngapore Institute of Architects Award (Commendation, 2011), the Malaysian institute of Architects Gold Award 2011, the WACA (World Association of Chinese Architects) Gold Medal 2011 and BCA Green Mark Platinum rating.
- Spire Edge Tower – (Gurgaon, Haryana, India), under construction with anticipated completion 2012, a signature tower that espouses the idea of a vertical green ecoinfeastructure, and rated LEED Platinum.
- Ganendra Art House - Petaling Jaya, Malaysia (2011) - Art Gallery with accommodation for live-in artist has an experimental 'down-draft' ventilating flue for enhancing comfort cooling, which received the Malaysian Institute of Architects Design Award (Commendation) 2010.
- The Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital Extension (2011) – London, UK, green hospital rated BREEAM 'excellent'.
Recognition and awards
Yeang's design and built work have been recognized by the many awards received since 1989 over 70 awards that include the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (for the Menara Mesiniaga, an IBM franchise), the Prince Claus Award (Netherlands), the UIA (International Union of Architects) August Perret Award, the Malaysian Institute of Architects Gold Medal (2011) and many of its annual design awards, the WACA (World Association of Chinese Architects) Gold Medals (for the Solaris Building, 2011 and for the National Library Singapore), the Government of Malaysia’s ‘Darjah Mulia Pangkuan Negen (DMPN) award (that carries the official title of ‘Dato’ (2003), generally regarded as the Malaysian equivalent of the UK’s OBE), The Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (USA), the Holcim Regional Award for Sustainability (Switzerland) (for the Putrajaya Phase 2C5 building, Malaysia, 2011), the Merdeka Award (for the 'environment' category, 2011), an award from the Malaysian government regarded as its national equivalent of the Nobel prize).
Yeang has exhibited in galleries and museums internationally since 1985 including Tokyo (Ginza Pocket Park, Tokyo Designer's Space at Axis Building, Roppongi), Nara in Japan, Berlin (Aedes Gallery) Germany, Stuttgart (IFA Gallery) Germany, New York (MOMA) and Washington DC (Building Museum) USA, London (Building Centre) UK, Rotterdam (NAI) Netherlands.
Yeang and his ecodesigns have been featured in a number of special television broadcasts, including BBC (UK) television and radio, NHK (Japan), Asia Discovery Channel (Asia), PBS (USA) (in ‘design=e2’, where the actor, Brad Pitt refers to Yeang's work, '...wind, rain and the sun, in the minds of most architects, they are the enemies.. but what if buildings can utilise and respond to the conditions of the environment? What if that urban environment becomes a living, breathing organism? To Ken Yeang it is..').
- Plaza Atrium, Kuala Lumpur, 1981
- Roof-Roof house, Kuala Lumpur 1985
- Menara Boustead, Kuala_Lumpur, 1986
- Menara Mesiniaga, Subang Jaya, Malaysia, 1992
- MBF Tower, Penang, Malaysia1993
- TTDi The Plaza and Residence, Kuala Lumpur, 1996
- UMNO Tower, Penang, 1998
- Mutiara Mesiniaga Penang, Penang, 2003
- Mewah Oils Headquarters, Malaysia 2005
- National Library of Singapore, Singapore, 2005
- Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (Main campus, Cyberjaya), Malaysia, 2006
- TA2 Tower, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2005
- DIGI Technical Office, Shah Alam, Malaysia, 2010
- Solaris, Singapore, 2010
- Ganendra Art House, 2010
Current projects under construction
- Spire Edge, Gurgaon, Delhi, India (Completion 2012)
- Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital Extension, London (Completion 2012)
- Fu Gong Shan Monastery, Johore Baru, Malaysia (Completion 2013)
- Calvary Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Completion 2012)
- Putrajaya office and retall complex Phase 2C5, Putrajaya, Malaysia
- Tokyo-Nara Tower, Tokyo, Japan, 1994
- Editt Tower, Singapore, a signature tower with a ramped greenery system
- Elephant and Castle EcoTower, London
- Al-Asima, Kuwait
- CAAG Tower, London
- Enterprise Building 4, Cyberjaya, Malaysia
- Jabal Omar Towers, Mecca, Saudi Arabia
- Dubai Towers, UAE
- Beijing Mega Hall North
- Taipei Capital Plaza
- Chongging Tower, China
- Vancouver Waterfront, Canada
- Premier City, Almaty, Kazakhstan
- LGT Tower, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- 1995 Designing With Nature: The Ecological Basis for Architectural Design, Mcgraw-Hill
- 1997 Skyscraper, Bioclimatically Considered: A Design Primer, Wiley-Academy
- 2000 The Green Skyscraper: The Basis for Designing Sustainable Intensive Buildings, Prestel
- 2002 Reinventing the Skyscraper: A Vertical Theory of Urban Design, Academy Press
- 2007 Eco Skyscrapers, Images Publishing
- 2008 Ecodesign: A Manual for Ecological Design, Wiley
- 2009 EcoMasterplanning, Wiley
- Hart, Sara, Ecoarchitecture – The Work of Ken Yeang, John Wiley & Sons (2011), UK
- Powell, Robert Rethinking the Skyscraper: the complete architecture of Ken Yeang, Thames & Hudson (1999), ISBN 0-500-28155-6
- "50 people who could save the planet". The Guardian (London). January 5, 2008. Retrieved 2012-12-30.
- Rethinking the Skyscraper, Introduction: A European Upbringing, pp. 7-12
- Rethinking the Skyscraper, Introduction: A European Upbringing, pp. 12-13
- These ideas are presented in his book, Reinventing the Skyscraper: A Vertical Theory of Urban Design (publ. John Wiley & Sons, UK, 2002), authored as a sequel to his earlier, The Skyscraper: Bioclimatically Considered (publ. John Wiley & Sons, UK, 1997)
- Ecoarchitecture – The Work of Ken Yeang, page 18; and Yeang, K. (Publ. John Wiley & Sons, UK, 2011), Ecomasterplanning, (Publ. John Wiley & Sons, UK, 2009)
- Ecoarchitecture – The Work of Ken Yeang, pages 252-253
- "Dr Ken Yeang: Cast your votes for the Observer Ethical Awards". Guardian.co.uk. January 11, 2009. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
- Pearson, Clifford A.: "T.R. Hamzah & Yeang applies its trademark bioclimatic design principles to the new National Library in Singapore" in Architectural Record, August 2006
- Website of T. R. Hamzah & Yeang Sdn. Bhd.
- Biography and interview with Ken Yeang, and an image gallery of his work. CNN, July 2007
- Interview with Ken Yeang 2009(Video)
- 2009 Green Source Magazine Article on Solaris, Singapore