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Engineering innovation is at the heart of eco-architecture

Web Structures is working with world-renowned eco-architecture pioneer Dr Ken Yeang to create a stunning private residence in Malaysia that takes art onto a whole new level.

A signature feature of the home currently being built in Selangor is a four-storey cantilevered ramp that is also a spectacular art gallery.

The design allows visitors to stroll up the ramp viewing the works on display amid a living ecosystem created by the architect.

Web Structures has been working with his acclaimed TR Hamzah & Yeang practice to deliver structural engineering solutions to create the unique gallery concept.

It is the latest in a number of project and competition collaborations between architect and ecologist Dr Yeang, named by the UK’s Guardian newspaper as “one of the 50 people who could save the planet”, and the Web Structures team.

They include an 80-storey tower competition in Kuala Lumpur and a mixed-use development project in south Malaysia.

Dr Yeang is full of praise for Web Structures’ innovation. He explains: “Web Structures are very innovative engineers, and make no mistake about it; innovation is the lifeblood of everything we do.

“They will always bring something different to every project that will allow us to progress and develop our work. They are always looking for ways to innovate and that fits in perfectly with the way we operate.”

Dr Hossein Rezai, group director of Web Structures, says: “We’ve been delighted to work with Ken on his latest residential project in Selangor and help turn his vision into reality.

“The cantilever ramp art gallery we have helped to design and build is a spectacular feature of what will be a stunning residence once it is completed.”

Web Structures has also worked on the concept of a ‘future-proofed’ skyscraper with Dr Yeang and his practice, which has offices in London, Malaysia and China, in a recent competition entry.

Dr Yeang designed a tall building with ‘voids’ in it, to be filled with new homes as the population grows. Web Structures came up with the engineering system that allowed the development of the empty spaces.

As with all his work, this and the Selangor residence were designed with Dr Yeang’s pioneering ecological principles and beliefs at their heart.

He is famed for this green, ecological approach to architecture. But his work is far more than adding greenery and landscaping to buildings.

Instead he designs his buildings and eco-masterplans as total ‘living systems’ requiring the creation of new habitats within and around the development.

That involves matching selected native species with his constructed habitats and setting their ‘biodiversity targets’ by providing the physical conditions to enable the selected species to survive all seasons.

In achieving this, his built work is more than just ‘vertically-landscaped architecture’. He is constructing, he explains, “living systems”.

He explains: “Our whole approach is ecology based, that is what differentiates us from other green architects.

“A lot of people try and imitate what we do, the difference is we don’t just plant vegetation, we design habitats and create total living systems.”

Dr Yeang believes buildings that are ‘living entities’ are places people want to live and work in. He says: “I’ve worked on 50-60 storey towers using these same ecological principles; I’ve been doing it for 40 years!

“When I started green design wasn’t very fashionable at all. How times have changed! Engineers like Web Structures began supporting what we did and the environment and sustainability are now seen as vitally important.”

TR Hamzah & Yeang has been in existence over three decades, with successful signature developments across Europe, USA and Asia.

Key projects include the high-rise National Library Board building (Singapore), the 40-storey Eco-Tower at Elephant & Castle in London, the 24-storey IBM Building (Malaysia) and 15-storey Mesiniaga Building (IBM franchise) (Malaysia).

Dr Yeang also played a key role in the design of the £300 million Great Ormond Street children’s hospital extension in London.

His firm has received more than 20 awards including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (1995) and the RAIA International Award (in 1997 and 1999).

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