Architecture

Menara Mesiniaga/IBM Tower, Kuala Lumpur (1992)

Ken Yeang

The IBM Tower in Kuala Lumpur was the first modern green skyscraper—although its architect, Ken Yeang, prefers to call it a "bioclimactic" building, because of the way its natural ventilation strategies make the building feel as if it were breathing. The design was the first to bring low-energy use to a high-density urban environment, reflecting Yeang's idea that only the sustainable development of cities can accommodate the world's population growth. But unlike the sophisticated technical engineering of later green skyscrapers, most of its strategies are passive—such as a spiraling atrium that accommodates "vertical landscaping," improving indoor air quality and aiding natural ventilation, and external louvers that reduce solar heat gain.

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