Yeang 1995' partitioned matrix

L11 = internal interdependences

L22 = external interdependences

112 = system/environment exchanges

L21 = environment/system exchanges

Yeang 1995' partitioned matrix

L11 = internal interdependences

L22 = external interdependences

112 = system/environment exchanges

L21 = environment/system exchanges

Key LP = partitioned matnx

1 = built system

2 = environment L = interdependences

"The partitioned matrix is itself a complete theoretical framework embodying all ecological design considerations. The designer can use this tool to examine interactions between the system to be built and its environment holistically and inclusively, taking account of all the environmental interdependences" included in the four sets of the diagram.

Yeang1995: model of a system and its environment and the exchanges between the two

In drawing a synoptic conclusion to Yeang's view of architecture in the domain of the earth, his 'General Systems Framework for Design' is acute and simple (see Model of System above). Of this essential drawing, he has said:

"For the purpose of developing a theory, for ecological design, we can regard our building as a system (ie. a designed system or a built system) that exists in an environment (including both the man-made and natural environments). The general systems concept is fundamental to the ecosystem concept in ecology ... The crucial task in design - and similarly in any theory - is therefore to pick the right variables to be included, which are those we find essential to our resolution of the design process." '

Clearly, these general frameworks cannot encompass all the resultant requirements of a perfect system. Yeang has always emphasised that the process is ongoing and that various sophistications are essential-"... one thing the (partitioned) matrix will not do is to incorporate the environmental feedback that occurs once the building is actually constructed " •

as this would require a more comprehensive and complex model yet again

The 'partitioned matrix' for Yeang constitutes what he has describe a fundamental 'Law of Ecological Design' ed "

"In ecological design, this 'Law'then requires th* h«i .O look a, his designed svstem in termsZ

see how these interact with each other (both statically and dynamically over time, these being the four components of the partitioned matrix).

The matrix allows the designer to assess the ecological impacts and to incorporate all the necessary adjustments to produce a comprehensive, balanced design. In Yeang's terms:

"... any designed system can be conceptually broken down and analysed based on these four sets of interactions ..." * within the matrix.

Within the extensive range of Yeang's theory, the case of application in this book is essentially about the design of sustainable intensive buildings - including skyscrapers and other building types such as malls, stadiums, etc. It is therefore a priority to relate theory to architectural practice. In this regard two further statements provide clarity: "... holistic and ecological design takes into account local and global environmental interactions; anticipatory design is forward-looking and is also environmental in that it considers effects over the entire lifetime of the built structure ... green design is also self critical ... it considers its own effects on the environment and tries to eliminate negative impacts on ecosystems and terrestrial resources ... the green designer takes a 'balanced budget' approach, weighing environmental costs and using global resources in the least damaging, most advantageous manner possible." " This statement, in the first instance, establishes the overall context in which the essential act of design, as a process, occurs.

But, secondly the application of principles in itself, requires definition relative to actual building design:

"From the point of view of applied ecology, ecological design has essentially to do with energy and materials management concentrated in a particular locality (ie. the building site). By this (Yeang) means the earth's energy and material resources (biotic and abiotic components) are in effect managed and assembled by the designer into a temporary man-made form (for a period of intended use of 'its useful life'), then later demolished or disassembled at the end of this period, to be either reused or recycled within the built environment or assimilated elsewhere into the natural environment." "

Taking these two statements into account, it is important to establish that ecological design is much more than just the management of energy and materials, and that Yeang's approach in no way eliminates the 'giving of form' in the conventional sense. Moreover his insistence on analysis has much to do with the rigorous discipline of major architecture as evidenced earlier in the works of Wright, Kahn and others. It is simply that, in Yeang's case, a much wider v.ew of the building, the use of resources, and the overall impact of its life in use. 's being taken into account, together with its initial creation and the inputs that go into this process and then its outward effect on the environment - immediately and afterwards.

1 Itwj p 65 ' ibid pp 49-60 ' Ibid p 70 * Ibid pp 65-67

Ypjng s own statement summarise* the inclusive nature of his method:

the designed system must create a balanced ecosystem of biotic and abiotic components or, what would be better, create a productive and even reparative (ie. healing) relationship with the natural environment both locally and globally ... in addition one has to consider the other conventional aspects of the design of a built system (in this case the Skyscraper): design programme, costs, aesthetics, site and so forth." The recurrent theme in Yeang's theory is that of comprehensiveness, and this is echoed again when he addresses the act of building:

the real test of environmental commitment and principles is on the level of human action (ie. when ground is broken), and this model (ie. Yeang's 'interactions framework'), by offering a comprehensive framework for understanding the interrelations of built systems and ecosystems allows people in various fields to act in concert and contribute to ecological design philosophy.""

Yeang has also crucially highlighted that the theoretical structure of the interactions framework' can reveal

"... holes in current design practice and research on the subject ... Green design, when pursued comprehensively, demands certain kinds of data, which will have to be developed and quantified where not available." There can be no doubt that the latter will require substantial developments to assess, assemble and disseminate the massive quantities of data involved and to ensure that is is regularly and systematically updated. However, the IT revolution and the universal availability of systems knowledge should mean that this objective is now eminently viable, as never before A further moiication of Yeang's theory and its real application must also have serious meaning for education in general, and the teaching of a responsive architectural design in particular It should also further reinforce important areas of research, cm a £iobaJ basis, that can make a significant contribution to both architecture and the whole environment.

Beyond this synoptic comment there are some further observations, that relate oacV to the central thesis of this book and to the application of Yeang's theory: "... while the partitioned matrix is a comprehensive framework, it is not programmatic. That is to say, it includes all possible issues but not ... particular situations and cases. It can act as the 'law for ecological design', but it is the individual designer who has to apply that law. All that can be predicted here is the type of design issue likely to be faced by the architect of a 'green' skyscraper and other large buildings, particularly in the area of ecosystem interactions and effects ... the interactions model and the matrix present a general, overall picture of the design problems faced by architects following green principles. In essence it is a map, which allows many paths on the way from problem recognition to resolution ... What is important is that in adapting the built system to the natural environment the designer does not neglect any of the interactions defined by the partitioned matrix; how they are addressed remains individual."

the skyscraper should not be packaging
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the skyscraper should not be an isolated urban fortress island the skyscraper should not be an isolated urban fortress island

skyscraper design Is not styling
skyscraper design should not be a homogenous stacking of floor plates

The mev.age behind ki n Yeang's The G(HA 'tkyvmper is not to -.ay how difficult it alt « but rather how much more informed and innovative we need to be in our challenge of delivering a sustainable future I would call it a book of 'tools both theoretical and practical to aid us in applying our rraft of design (architectural and engineering) Our world evolves around de-.ie.n, It lives and dies by its application Take for example the simple flower, it's 'designed' to attract the inserts which pollinate it. the leaves are "designed" to process sunlight to keep the plant alive whilst its roots are "designed" to draw nutrients from and to stabilise it to the earth below. The simple flower is holistic, sustainable, a well designed organism, a dosed loop When a generic accident occurs (the loop is broken) which cause', a pjrt not to function the flawed design causes catastrophic failure, the plant dies. It is of course safe to say that nature's 'designs' have evolved and are continuing to evolve in response to changes in the global environment In man's designs however, evolution takes the form of history and perception but unlike natures evolutionary process man does not have time (resources) on his side Which then suggests that if building design is the identification of a need then we must worry about the needs of the planet that we live on as well as our own So quite apart from the issues of design philosophy and social relevance there are immediate urgencies, which relate to how we as designer's use the resources of the planet and how our designs interact with the world about us. Responsible (sustainable) design demands that we work with the planet in true evolutionary harmony, not against it and to do so demands knowledge The Green Skyscraper is but a part of this, y y

Tony Mclaughlin

(Buro Happold Consulting Engineers)

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