Featured Presenter: Ken Yeang

(CNN) — CNN spoke to Ken Yeang, an architect and ecologist, and the principle of the UK practice of Llweleyn Davis Yeang about his work to combine high rise architecture and environmental awareness.

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CNN: How does being an ecologist relate to being an architect?

Ken Yeang: The ecologist has a much more comprehensive and holistic view of the world. We’re looking at the natural environment as well as the human built environment and the connectivity between the two — how do the natural environment and the human-built environment interact and interface with each other. That means when we design a building we’re not looking at it as an art object by itself. We’re looking at its relationship with the natural environment and how the two interface.

CNN: What’s your inspiration behind bringing ecology and architecture together?

KY: Biology I suppose. In my heart I believe that biology is the beginning and the end of everything. It’s the biggest source of ideas, the biggest source of invention. Nobody can invent better than nature and so if you like nature is my biggest source of inspiration.

CNN: What exactly is eco-design? How are the building designed with these principles different from regular buildings?

KY: Eco-design is designing in such a way that the human built environment or our design system integrates benignly and seamlessly with the natural environment. We have to look at it not just as designing a building as an independent object in the city or in the site where it’s located. We have to look at it in the context of the characteristics of the site in which it’s located, the ecological features and we have to integrate with it physically, systemically and temporally.

Physical integration means integrating with the physical characteristics of the place: Its topography, its ground water, its hydrology, its vegetation and the different species on the particular site. Systemic integration is integrating with the processes that take place in nature with our human built environment: The use of water, the use of energy, the use of waste and sewers and so forth. Both the human and the natural must blend together, so there will be no pollution and no waste. Temporal integration, means integrating the rate of our use of the resources in the earth and its material, and the rate of replenishment. … (read entire interview at cnn.com)

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