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Betore anv detailed discussion of Ken Veang's architecture can take place, it is essential to understand the overall nature of his thought, philosophy and theory of systems that underlies and structures his whole output in practice - the making ot green' buildings.

H s recert treatise "he Green Skyscraper ' sets out his position and method very dearly and is built upon both his Cambndge University research wh.ch began in the 1970s, and all the subsequent development and refinement that has been enacted in the course ot his extensive practice.

Vang is therefore not an architect who is a maker of form alone, but •ather a totally different designer whose understanding of ecology and s^stamabie systems insists that the reasons why his forms exist, develop and mutate are all an integral part of an ecologically ■esponsive design process At the same time his own knowledge has progressively advanced as the precision of specialist advice has increased and added to the process of his practice and research.

Two principal factors characterise Veang's mission and research as appl*d to architectural production First is the recognition of the extensive degradation of the natural environment and the time limit on both the provision of low-cost energy and supply of irreplaceable matenals that currently supports the built environment as a whole, and that cannot continue if future generations are to have appropnate access to natural resources

Yeang concludes that

'It is therefore evident that designing with "green" or ecologically responsive design objectives in mind is vital. Indeed, these must certainly now be the prime objectives for the design community today.1 This statement naturally alludes to the second factor in Veang's overall mission This concerns the belief that all those concerned with build,nR design can. with the application of ecology principles, make a significant contribution towards a sustainable future through the creation of a thorough green" architecture that is evolved from a comprehensive method. ■ and how ,t parfccularty relates to the ecological design of both skyscrapers, and other large pro,ects such as the National Library of Singapore, in which he is currently engaged

While this book is entirely dedicated to Veang's architectural output in the realm of his own developing bioclimatic series of skyscrapers and beyond, and it therefore cannot substitute as a complete theoretical treatise. It is nevertheless important to place the work in the critical context of Yeang's theory, as completely contained in his extensive writings such as The Green Skyscraper 4

The logic of tackling the scale of high-density intensive buildings in relation to ecological design gains particular relevance when their massive input and output of resources and waste is measured Equally the increasing intensity of expansion in world cities is almost certain to continue the proliferation of major urban buildings ' given the economics of urban land economy. Hence. Yeang s case that the skyscraper and other major urban building types require to be designed to an ecologically responsive standard as a matter of urgency for a sustainable future However, the limitations are also defined and recognised:

'... the problems and technical innovations for a comprehensive holistic ecological design for intensive building types remain unresolved or have yet to be invented. But this should not lead us to assume that a technological 'fix' is the preferred solution of design problems or that it is possible for all environmental issues to be resolved overnight.'

Yeang is calling for a change in the attitude of designers universally, and for what he calls an intelligent start' on the application of techniques and ideas required to establish green design solutions as a basic expectation.

With regard to the progressive content of the skyscraper projects in this collection, it is important to clarify a fundamental concept In Yeang's own terms:

'To avoid confusion between what is bioclimatic design and what is ecological design, we should clarify the differences. Generally, bioclimatic design is the passive low-energy design approach that makes use of the ambient energies of the climate of the locality to create conditions of comfort for the users of the building ... As an emergent bioclimatic built form, it provides a viable alternative to the existing skyscraper and constitutes a new building genre; however it must made clear that bioclimatic design is not ecological design in its entirety, but only an intermediate stage in that direction. Ecological design is a much more complex endeavour.

The crucial distinction between Yeang's theories of ecological design' and those of other architects is then a vital matter of definition.

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