Environmental and architectural impacts of the 'bioclimatic' highrises in the tropics

Kenneth Ip, S. Jahnkassim

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


Malaysian architect kenneth yeang has devleoped a 'bioclimatic' highrise offices design strategy that seeks to minimise energy use while not sacrificing thermal comfort expectations in tropical working environments. The design integrates sky courts, the peripheral positioning of service cores as solar buffers and the use of natural ventilation in transitional areas - such as the lift and ground floor lobbies. these 'biocliamtic' forms also use vertical landscaping vegetation and vertical sun shading to minimise heat gain and integrate roof forms for future photovoltaic electricity generation, a field study of two of Yeang's 'bioclimatic' highrises - Mesinaiga and UMNO revealed that there was inadequate shading on the estern curvature of the UMNO building while an occupant survey revealed that due to the impact of afternoon sun of the western facades of the Mseiniaga, both thermal and visual comfort levels were unsatisfactory. in both highrise offices, undesirable glazed openings had to be provided in the western facades for visual amenity and scenic views to site conditions, this paper investigates the compromise involved in regional 'typolog' of bioclimatic' deisgn and the 'ideal' climatic configuration. CONCLUSIONS the results showed energy savings can be achieved by yeang's bioclimatic models when compared to Yeang's typical modern sealed homogenous highrise models, in particular the UMNO tower which is partially naturally ventialted, but more significant savings can be achieved by adopting the improved 'bioclimatic' model. An overall energy reduction of 73% in the ideal UMNO building when daylight control and photovoltaic panels are included is feasible. Yeang's deign is derived in the context of generating a regionalist 'typology' for tall buildings in a tropical climate. Such design attempts to move away from the monolithic block in order to develop a 'tropical Far Eastern hybrid form'. Yeang's philosophy sees the building envelope not only acts as a climatic sieving enclosure, but also its overall form is an abstaction from the traditional cultural context. Mesiniaga has since gained international recognition (awarded the Aga Khan award) due to its 'symbolic cultural contribution and architectural response to a rapidly developing environment in the East (Abel 1997), also its organitech' form due to the itnegration of its 'organic' spiralling balconies and advanced-technology. The current study highlights the level of compromise involved in responding to such a 'cultural' context, indicative of the difference between energy performance of Yeang's bioclimatic design and the more ideal cliamtic configuration. in a rapidly devleoping world, the necessity of In cultural' forms becomes a priority due to the increasing pre-dominance of 'western-type' forms of glass, curtain-walls and homogenous deigns in corporate office buildings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable Building 2000
Publication statusPublished - 2000
EventSustainable Building 2000 - Maastricht, Netherland
Duration: 1 Jan 2000 → …


ConferenceSustainable Building 2000
Period1/01/00 → …


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