Green Buildings Reaching
for the Sky
Bioclimatic Skyscrapers by Ken Yeang, 1994. Artemis London Limited, England (North American distribution by Scovill Petterson Inc., 141 Fifth Ave. New York, NY 10010; 212/673-6090, 212/673-6603–fax). 150 pages, $39.95.
An ecological skyscraper may seem like an oxymoron, but Ken Yeang hasn’t given up on tall buildings. Yeang has devoted his career to researching and applying the principles of environmentally sound design to the tall-building form. His buildings exhibit innovative strategies for shading and natural ventilation, and plantings literally cloak some of his towers.
Bioclimatic Skycrapers includes a rather short text that nevertheless conveys the impressive scope of Yeang’s vision—no important aspect of sustainable design is left out of his architectural agenda. The examples that follow his essay illustrate some of his guiding principles as they’ve been applied to date, but they are disappointingly short on the technical details needed to understand his solutions. It also takes some time to get used to this book’s idiosyncratic format.
The extension of bioclimatic design to tall buildings in hot climates offers interesting insights. In an appendix, Yeang has extended his solution concepts to other climatic regions in a useful, if very general, graphic format. This isn’t a very meaty book, but it offers some tempting ideas.
Published November 1, 1994