Case Study of Architect Dr. Ken Yeang

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  1. Introduction

Most of today many architect had design many green building because the design of the built environment on human health with to reduce to the overall impact and the environment have an efficiently using energy, water and other resources. After that, it also reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation and the last is protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity. Green building practices aim to reduce the environmental impact of building. The first rule is that the greenest building is the building that doesn’t get build, the second rule is that every building should be as small as possible and the last rule is not to contribute to sprawl, even if the most energy efficient, environmentally sound methods are used in the design and construction.

Figure 1.1 Dr. Ken Yeang

One of the famous green architects, Ken Yeang, he is a Malaysian architect and he born in 1948. He also is a ecologist and author known for his signature ecological green architecture and masterplans, differentiated by an environmentally authentic ecology based approach. According to the book “A Manual For Ecological Design” tha had been written by Dr. Ken Yeang had said that his aim is to produce or design and maintain ecosystem like structures design of the buildings and the systems with integrate benignly and natural environment but in the relation to global biosphere process, he had built the building with a form and systems function with sensitivity to the locality’s ecology, and contribute positively to biodiversity. The goal is using a low ecological consequence to built it, structures and systems to low consumers of non renewable resources. After that the design is to facilitate disassembly, recycling and can be reintegrated back to the natural environment. His philosophy is regionalists do not see themselves as looking for a specific national identity but merely building a passive design shelter in response to the local climate.

  1. Background

Figure 2.1 Menara Meseniaga in Subang Jaya

The headquarters IBM in Subang Jaya near the Kuala Lumpur, there have a green building that is Menara Mesiniaga. Menara Mesiniaga had been completed build in 1992 and the first conceived was in 1989 by Dr. Ken Yeang.Dr. Ken Yeang and T.R Hamzah had designed a building which have a high tech corporate showcase for highly visible and technology industry. Dr. Ken Yeang had designed this building, Menara Mesiniaga as an example of his design of the green building and using his principles and his knowledge of bioclimatic skcraper.

The building, Menara Mesiniaga is an analogy for analysis and synthesis, Menara Mesiniaga also is an environmental filter’s building. Menara Mesiniaga had been builder with a basis Malaysian building and it evolution to a modern style building by using his principle. It is Ken Yeang’s vision of the tropical garden city and it uncovers the relationship of building, landscape and climate. The main idea and concepts for this building is using the sky gardens that serve as villages, spiralling vertical landscape, recessed and shaded windows on the east and west, curtain wall glazing on the north and south, single core service on hot side-east, naturally ventilated and sunlit toilets, stair ways and lift lobbies and spiral balconies on the exterior walls with full height sliding doors to interior offices.

Menara Mesiniaga is a modern architecture and modern architecture has few characteristic. The characteristic of the modern style is the design using a visual emphasis on the vertical and horizontal line and especially in International Style modernism. After that, they also using a industrially to produce material like glass, stainless steel and so on. They also using the material with natural material and to be seen rather than concealed or altered to represent something to the design. The design has a visual expression of the structure like they had design the building by hiding the structure element. After that, they also clarity and simplicity of the forms and elimination when they built the building.

  1. Analysis

In Malaysia, the characteristic of the architectural had been combines the vernacular with the experimental and modernist, but in general is mostly contemporary design and in local architecture, Menara Mesiniaga also is one of the contemporary buildings. During the post war period, European influence was followed by a Malaysian period, and the characteristic of the high rise buildings with high plot ratios. High tech building is the most recent and significant in Malaysia. Ken Yeang designed Menara Mesiniaga as an example of his bioclimatic skyscraper practices and principles.

Climatically Malaysia is a hot and humid country and the Kuala Lumpur is about 3 degrees North of the equator. Rainfall is is heavier along the East coast than the West coast. West coast and consequently, so is most of the population. The country has no distinct winter or summer.

Figure 3.1 Menara Mesiniaga

Materials and technology

The materials that had been use for the structural system of Menara Mesiniaga are reinforced concrete, with a steel structure used for the mezzanine and balconies. The function of using reinforced concrete is because the reinforcing schemes are generally designed to resist tensile stresses in particular regions o the concrete that might cause unacceptable cracking or structural failure. The foundation is using the bore concrete piles and the principal structural members are reinforced concrete and a structural frame uses steel outriggers. The infill is using the brickwork for internal fire protected areas. After that, the glazed panels for the external fire cladding and gypsum board for internal partitioning. The imported aluminum composite panels for cladding with local spraytile finish to other masory areas. The floor was imported granite in the lobby with homogeneous local tiles for the poolside, toilet and roof terraces and the imported carpet and tiles for the office areas and lift lobbies. Besides that, the ceiling also had imported the mineral fibre board for office areas and lift lobbies and the fibrous plaster and gypsum board for ground floor reception, auditorium and exhibition space. The roofing had imported metal deck roofing for the sky gymnasium and the local tiles on a reinforced concrete slab on the roof terraces and also painted mild steel outrigger for the roof structure and mezzanine.

3.2 principles of bioclimatic design

Α. Improvement or regulation of environmental conditions (microclimate improvement) The improvement and adjustment of environmental conditions occurring on the construction of the building is succeeded with the overall strategic planning of the building in order to make the best use of the sun, the prevailing winds, the ambient temperature and humidity.

B. Exploitation of solar energy The exploitation of solar energy is achieved by the proper design of the building envelope (to maximize the absorption of solar energy during winter and minimize it during summer), the proper orientation of spaces and especially of openings (the southern orientation is the most appropriate), the proper sizing of the openings, a layout of the interior spaces based on thermal requirements and the adoption of the appropriate passive applications that collect sunlight and can be considered as 'natural' heating systems.

C. Thermal protection of buildings and protection through shading The thermal protection of a building is mainly achieved by the appropriate design of the openings to prevent the escape of heat, the proper insulation of the building envelope and the proper arrangement of internal spaces (rooms used more frequently are placed in the south to avoid the 'cold' north). With the protection of shading the major goal is to protect the building from overheating during summer with by strategically placing internal or external, vertical and horizontal blinds.

D. Systems and passive cooling techniques It refers to the building’s microclimate control, its shading and to the minimization of thermal loads during the warm summer months through openings and the shading of opaque envelope components.

E. Natural lighting Natural lighting refers to the exploitation of direct and indirect light in order to ensure adequate comfort conditions, even light distribution in the interior during all seasons depending on the building type.

F. Acoustic protection The acoustic protection of a building is achieved through the proper planning building orientation in order for the building to be protected from noise (constant or arbitrary).

Bioclimatic design strategies are effective for “envelope dominated” structures, to provide a large portion if not all of the energy required to maintain comfort conditions. The “internal load dominated” buildings is like the commercial kitchens, hospitals, windowless stores and offices. The lights, heat of occupancy and equipment are the experience high internal gains imposed. After that, the external climatic conditions complex influence on achieving comfort and low energy utilization. The available day lighting benefit to all the buildings can relate heating and cooling impacts and means of control are essential. The resources of bioclimatic design are the natural flows of energy in and round a building and it created by the interaction of sun, wind, preciption, vegetation, temperature and humidity in the air and in the ground. In some instances, this ambient energy is useful immediately or stored for later use and in other case.

Ken Yeang was designed Menara Mesiniaga with some objectives:

  1. the building has a good view
  2. has a green area and had created a sky garden
  3. receiving the natural sunlight to decrease using the light
  4. good control of air movement and the fresh air
  5. interaction with shadow, nature and sunlight
  6. using the function of bio climitic
  7. surrounding had been designed with less noise and distraction
  8. have a good cooling and heating and also good adjustable temperature
  9. relaxation of the provision at interior and exterior area


One of the famous green building that is London’s Gherkin Tower and the building was designed by Norman Foster. The plants that plating at the London’s Gherkin Tower mostly is a mixture of grasses and lichens and also are expexted to envelope the facade and grow out of the panel. After that, the function of the panel is soaking up of the water and through its specialized membranes and make sure that the plants have absorb enough of water and growth up nicely. They have many type of the panel like they are using recycling materials, reduce water consumption and make sure that didn’t wasted in the interior space they have a reduction of toxicity and using the sunlight to increase the internal day lighting and thermal insulation, for the entire building have a energy generation. The design of the planting is very different with the London’s Gherkin Tower if the building compare with Menara Mesiniaga. The design of the Menara Mesiniaga is not using the technique of soaking to the building, it only plant it at outside of building.

The design of the building is use the natural ventilation to reduce energy consumption and the building has a smart control system and low façade heat gain.