Greening Asia: Emerging Principles for Sustainable Architecture / Nirmal Kishnani

Despite a rise in the number of certified buildings, the approach to Greening is fragmented and cautious at best. The Asian Green building does not do enough to mitigate impact nor do the conventions of Greening address the diverse needs of the region and its people. An urgent rethink is needed. Asia must get past the current do-less-harm approach towards long-term, locale- and community-specific outcomes.

Greening Asia: Emerging Principles of Sustainable Architecture reports on over 30 recent projects in Asia. The author – an educator, architect and Green building expert – extracts from them six principles for sustainable design that are Asia-centric and scalable.

Greening Asia offers the following perspectives:

  • Comprehend the diversity of Asia and, within this, the ecological and social impact of buildings
  • Critique how Green buildings are created and valued, looking beyond the current checklist approach towards new, emerging ideas on sustainability
  • Visualise the translation of drawing-board ideas into as-built performance
  • Comprehend a multidisciplinary, multi-stakeholder process
  • Comprehend the integration of form, envelope and systems
  • Access post-occupancy performance data for a wide selection of building types and locations
  • Access project information on materials, systems, suppliers and consultants
  • Comprehend the importance of quantitative and qualitative markers of performance 

This publication has 334 pages with over 200 drawings and 330 photographs; it features projects from:

Sri Lanka

This book is a must-have guide for building professionals, developers and operators, also an important new text for academia. The well-illustrated layout will appeal to anyone interested in the rising tide of Green in Asia.

Copyright © 2012 Nirmal T. Kishnani
Published by BCI Asia Construction Information Pte Ltd
Supported by Autodesk Asia Pte Ltd
ISBN 978–981–07–0116–1


The author has been active since the mid-nineties in the field of performance-based architecture, applying principles and methodologies that are now known as Green. In 2002 he set up one of Asia’s first consultancies dedicated to Greening. As interest in Green grew, his team advised developers and project teams across Asia. He has lectured and conducted workshops on the Green design process to audiences in Australia, China, Europe, India and Southeast Asia.

Dr Kishnani is presently active in research and consultancy. He has sat on several advisory panels in China, Singapore and Vietnam shaping policy guidelines that affect design practice. Collaborating with FuturArc and BCI Asia, he has created new platforms for reporting Green projects and forward-thinking ideas on sustainability in Asia. He is Editor–in–Chief of the FuturArc magazine and resident jury chair of two Asia-based design competitions – FuturArc Prize and FuturArc Green Leadership Award – that he helped set up.

In 2007 Dr Kishnani accepted a teaching position with the National University of Singapore where, at the time of this publication, he taught sustainability at the Department of Architecture and was Programme Director, Master of Science in Integrated Sustainable Design.


FuturArc is the voice of Green architecture in Asia, seeking to advocate change in the building sector through publications, events and design competitions, each focused on Green design and sustainable development.

The FuturArc Journal is bimonthly publication, it recognises the impact of buildings on society and the environment, and promotes architecture that is socially and ecologically responsible. The Journal is mainly distributed in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam and Australia. FuturArc Prize and Green Leadership Awards are annual design competitions that seek out forward-thinking ideas and innovative built solutions for Asia.

FuturArc is part of the BCI Media Group. Helming the frontline of construction market information for more than a decade in Asia Pacific, the company has been bridging the gap between design professionals and suppliers in the construction industry. In collecting information and data over the years, the BCI Media Group has recognised early on the severe impact of building and construction on the natural environment.

(An) outstanding book offering an excellent balance between theory and practical examples and clearly highlighting the chances and the boundaries of sustainable architecture in the context of this region of the world

Edward Schwartz, General Manager, Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction

This is necessary work. Like Amory Lovins in the US, Dr Kishnani emphasises that we can do more – much more – with the resources we have, whether they be building materials, electrons, or the brains of architects, engineers, and planners. He emphasises that for our building systems to come closer to accordance with the planet, we must dispense with assembly line processes that produce the fragmentation in design and effect, and leverage the latent power of harmonisation in the building’s conception and function.

Jalel Sager, Former Executive Director, Vietnam Green Building Council