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Matador Editor-at-Large Paul Sullivan was invited on a press trip to Istanbul recently, to preview the latest project from Malaysian eco-architect Dr. Ken Yeang.

Yeang has been building ecological and bioclimatic premises for almost 40 years.

A prolific writer of books about ecodesign and a visiting scholar at various universities, he has designed over 200 projects since 1975, including the Menara Mesiniaga Tower in Selangor and the National Library of Singapore, which received the Green Mark Platinum Award.

Largely regarded as the “father” of the bioclimatic skyscraper, Yeang uses his concepts of ecodesign in all his architectural projects. Based on his personal principle of ’ecomimicry’, his designs seek connectivity between the built environment and surrounding ecosystems via motifs like eco-land bridges, vertical landscaping, green living walls, skycourts, vertical linked enclosed green atriums, and windscoops.

One of his latest projects, scheduled for completion in 2011, is Tulip Turkuaz, a 1,700 unit development in the Bahcesehir district of Istanbul. It has an emphasis on bioclimatic facilities like solar-energy, natural light channels, low energy electrical fittings, and water arcades.

I interviewed Dr. Yeang about the Tulip Turkuaz project:

Paul:
TulipTurkuaz is your first bioclimatic project in Turkey. Will you design others?

Dr. Yeang:
We are already preparing a TulipTowers project together with the Tulip Group. It will be put into practice immediately after TulipTurkuaz. Apart from these, time will show which developments will occur in the long term.

Paul:
What distinguishes TulipTurkuaz from your other projects?

Dr. Yeang:
It’s a unique project for Istanbul with original architectural design and a special concept. This is the first time biochemical architecture will be applied in Turkey. TulipTurkuaz also meets an important part of its own energy requirement with solar panels and full biological purification systems. There are large water channels, located among blocks, and plenty of environmental features via the landscape, covering even garages.

The location of TulipTurkuaz is also extremely exclusive, adorned with completely open, non-closeable sea and lake views at the entrance of Bahçeşehir-Ispartakule, a single new settlement unit of Istanbul European Side.

Paul:
What kind of structural and aesthetic elements are you most pleased with?

Dr. Yeang:

The plan was to create a civic environment without damaging the ecosystem by constituting a balance between ecology and civic life. Traffic is left out of such an ecosystem. Parks and service roads are dominant. Highways will be hidden. The project appreciates nature and there are plenty of green spaces like park lands, a marina, and an aqua park.

Paul:
Tell us about your concept of bioclimatic skyscrapers.

Dr. Yeang:
I wrote a book titled Rethink the Skyscraper. This book is a complete reading about understanding what is [a] skyscraper for me. Although skyscrapers are structures developed by Americans in 20th century, when you research, you see that no book was written about [the] architecture of skyscraper[s] even 50 years after their first occurrence.

I noticed that we learned the construction of skyscrapers only by trial and error. My aim was to think about them more in advance. I realized they are a civic design that we have an opportunity to rethink, adding elements like sky gardens, landscapes, and plazas under the body of structure.

Paul:
What are your future plans?

Dr. Yeang:
I would like to continue to attract attention to the subject of bioclimatic architecture. I’m working on a new book, which I suppose I will complete in the autumn.

For more information on the Tulip Turkuaz project: www.tulipturkuaz.co.uk
PR & Marketing for Tulip Turkuaz: Seda Consulting

Community Connection:

Dr. Yeang may be making Istanbul more beautiful, but what about the world’s ugliest buildings? Eileen Smith rounds-up the world’s worst in The World’s Ugliest Buildings.