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 Media contact:  
 Phillip Rollfing  

Bioclimatic architect to lecture Nov. 6

Internationally acclaimed 'green'
architect, Ken Yeang, to launch
Frederick E. Giesecke Lecture Series



A presentation by the internationally acclaimed Malaysian architect and writer Ken Yeang will launch the Texas A&M College of Architecture’s new Frederick E. Giesecke Lecture Series beginning at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 6 at the Langford Architecture Center’s Preston Geren Auditorium.

Yeang is renowned worldwide for his groundbreaking work throughout South Asia, developing environmentally friendly design strategies for high quality ecologically sustainable, or ”green,” high-rise buildings. His seminal book, “Bioclimatic Skyscrapers,” the first of many, was published in 1994. In 1999, he was awarded the prestigious Auguste Perret Prize by the International Union of Architects.

“Ken Yeang pioneered the application of bioclimatic principles to the high-rise building as a new genre of the skyscraper typology,” said J. Thomas Regan, dean of the College of Architecture. “In a world increasingly assailed by pollution and scarcity of natural resources, Dr. Yeang has set a much needed example and we are honored to have him visit our college and share his insight with our students and faculty.”

In addition to his Nov. 6 lecture, Regan said Yeang’s three-day visit will include student design reviews and meetings with faculty and doctoral students to discuss collaborative research initiatives and the possibility of creating a Center for EcoDesign at the Texas A&M College of Architecture.

“Yeang’s work challenges society and environmental design — philosophically, psychologically, technically, aesthetically, politically and culturally,“ Regan continued. “He is an inventive and prolific architect who is radically changing not only the face of architecture, but environmentalism as well.”

Over his 30-year career, Yeang has delivered a dozen high-rise towers and more than 200 projects through his private Kuala Lumpur-based practice, TR Hamzah & Yeang, a company he founded in 1976 with fellow Architectural Association School of Architecture graduate Tengku Robert Hamzah, a prince in the Malay royal family.

Before staring his firm, Yeang earned a doctorate in ecological design from Cambridge University. In addition to his dozen books, monographs and publications, Yeang has more than 40 letters behind his name and holds no less than 12 teaching positions and professorships at universities spanning the globe. Though he moved to London in 2005 to become director of Llewlyn Davies Yeang, a multidisciplinary firm of urban designers, architects and landscape architects, he remains a principal at his Malaysian firm, which has grown to include offices in Beijing, Sydney and Germany.

Yeang continues to conduct cutting-edge research, design and development in the bioclimatic design of tall buildings and has several patents pending for ventilation engineering. Among his key projects are the high-rise National Library Board building in Singapore, the 40-story Eco-Tower at Elephant & Castle, the 24-story IBM Building in Malaysia, the 15-story Mesiniaga Building (IBM franchise) in Malaysia, and the Wirrina Cove Condominium in Australia.

Yeang has received over 20 awards including the 1995 Aga Khan Award for Architecture and the Royal Australian Institute of Architects International Award in 1997 and 1999. His work has been published extensively in the international press.

Yeang’s design expertise lies in his ecological approach to the design of large projects and buildings, which considers their impacts on the site's ecology and the building's use of energy and materials over its life cycle. Much of his early work pioneered passive low-energy design of “bioclimatic skyscrapers.”

Because of population pressures and site ratios, Yeang considers skyscrapers as inevitable and he has spent his career refuting the conventional wisdom that tall buildings are inherently destructive to the environment.

Yeang's 1992 Menara Mesiniaga building in Subang Jaya Selangor, Malaysia is virtually a catalog of his bioclimatic techniques, including daring “vertical landscaping,” external louvers to reduce solar heat gain, extensive natural ventilation and lighting, and an “active intelligent building” system for automated energy savings.

Like architect William McDonough, another leader in sustainable design, Yeang's concentration on energy conservation and environmental impact is a radical departure from mainstream architecture's view of the profession as an art form.

“In practice, architectural design is a craft, and a variable one at that,” wrote Yeang. “Post modernism has successfully shown up the volatile nature of this craft by its unrestrained use of architectural symbolisms, its frivolous multiplication of the surface area of the built envelope, its prodigious use of unnecessary building materials, its indifference to engineering economy, its extravagant use of land, and its irrational subservience to whim and history instead of the allocation and restriction of excessive consumption of energy resources.”

Other noteable Ken Yeang buildings include: Plaza Atrium, Kuala Lumpur, 1981; Menara Boustead, Kuala Lumpur, 1986; MBF Tower, Penang, 1993; Tokyo-Nara Tower, Tokyo, Japan, 1994; Penggiran Apartment Towers No. 1, Kuala Lumpur, 1996; UMNO Tower, Penang, 1998; Dubai Towers Master Plan, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (under construction); and Jumptown Tower, Portland, Oregon (proposed).

Among the many books Yeang has written or co-authored in the field of tall buildings are “Designing With Nature,” 1995; “The Skyscraper Bioclimatically Considered; a Design Primer,” 1996; “The Green Skyscraper: The Basis for Designing Sustainable Intensive Buildings,” 1999; “Reinventing the Skyscraper: A Vertical Theory of Urban Design,” 2002; and his latest book, “Ecodesign: Instruction Manual, 2005. He is also currently co-writing “The Encyclopedia of the Skyscraper” with Antony Wood.

Yeang is vice chairman of the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat and has served on the Council of the Royal Institute of British Architects, as president of the Malaysian Institute of Architects, and as chairman of Architects Regional Council Asia. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

The Frederick E. Giesecke Lecture Series was established in 2005 with a generous gift from Fort Worth, Texas architect Preston M. Geren, Jr. ’45 , to honor his grandfather and founder of the architecture program at Texas A&M University; the first such program in Texas.

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Ken Yeang