Architecture

Vincent Callebaut's stunning twisting tower finally nears completion

Vincent Callebaut's stunning t...
VCA calculates that Tao Zhu Yin Yuan's greenery will all remove 130 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere per year
VCA calculates that Tao Zhu Yin Yuan's greenery will all remove 130 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere per year
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Tao Zhu Yin Yuan is slated for completion in late 2021
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Tao Zhu Yin Yuan is slated for completion in late 2021
Tao Zhu Yin Yuan's balconies offer residents private garden areas and improve light and air inside the apartments
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Tao Zhu Yin Yuan's balconies offer residents private garden areas and improve light and air inside the apartments
Tao Zhu Yin Yuan includes a total of 23,000 trees, shrubs and plants
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Tao Zhu Yin Yuan includes a total of 23,000 trees, shrubs and plants
Tao Zhu Yin Yuan rises to a height of 93.2 m (305 ft) and includes 21 floors (plus four basement levels)
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Tao Zhu Yin Yuan rises to a height of 93.2 m (305 ft) and includes 21 floors (plus four basement levels)
20 of the Tao Zhu Yin Yuan's floors twist 4.5 degrees per floor, for a total of 90 degrees
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20 of the Tao Zhu Yin Yuan's floors twist 4.5 degrees per floor, for a total of 90 degrees
Tao Zhu Yin Yuan's unusual design is inspired by a DNA double helix
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Tao Zhu Yin Yuan's unusual design is inspired by a DNA double helix
Tao Zhu Yin Yuan is located in Tapei, Taiwan
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Tao Zhu Yin Yuan is located in Tapei, Taiwan
VCA calculates that Tao Zhu Yin Yuan's greenery will all remove 130 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere per year
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VCA calculates that Tao Zhu Yin Yuan's greenery will all remove 130 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere per year
Tao Zhu Yin Yuan features
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Tao Zhu Yin Yuan features significant sustainable technology, including solar panels to reduce its electricity draw on the grid
Tao Zhu Yin Yuan's garden-filled balcony areas are intended to offer a green oasis in the inner-city area
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Tao Zhu Yin Yuan's garden-filled balcony areas are intended to offer a green oasis in the inner-city area
Tao Zhu Yin Yuan was originally conceived back in 2010 and it was due for completion in 2017
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Tao Zhu Yin Yuan was originally conceived back in 2010 and it was due for completion in 2017
Tao Zhu Yin Yuan is designed to withstand significant seismic activity and high winds
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Tao Zhu Yin Yuan is designed to withstand significant seismic activity and high winds
Though Tao Zhu Yin Yuan's greenery might look a bit sparse at the moment, it will grow into an inner-city oasis
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Though Tao Zhu Yin Yuan's greenery might look a bit sparse at the moment, it will grow into an inner-city oasis
In a bid to help it withstand any seismic activity, Tao Zhu Yin Yuan features a “nuclear plant-grade” structural core
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In a bid to help it withstand any seismic activity, Tao Zhu Yin Yuan features a “nuclear plant-grade” structural core
Tao Zhu Yin Yuan's significant irrigation needs will be partially met by rainwater collection systems
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Tao Zhu Yin Yuan's significant irrigation needs will be partially met by rainwater collection systems
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Some four years after it was originally due to be completed, and over a decade after first being commissioned, Vincent Callebaut's twisting Tao Zhu Yin Yuan (aka Agora Garden Tower) in Taipei, Taiwan, is finally nearing completion – and it's looking like the wait has been worth it. The high-rise residential project has an ambitious DNA-inspired form incorporating thousands of plants on its facade and sustainability features including solar power, rainwater collection, and more.

Rising to a height of 93.2 m (305 ft), Tao Zhu Yin Yuan consists of 21 floors (plus four basement levels), and is defined by an unusual twisting design inspired by the DNA double helix. Twenty of the floors twist 4.5 degrees per floor as the building rises, for a total of 90 degrees from bottom to top.

Though it's not looking quite as green as was suggested in early renders, this is understandable as the 23,000 trees, shrubs and plants that are planted throughout the ground floor garden, balconies and terraces, still have some time to grow. SWA is leading landscaping duties and Vincent Callebaut Architectures (VCA) reckons that all those plants will remove significant amounts of CO2 from the local atmosphere each year.

"The annual carbon absorption reaches around 130 tons with green coverage at 246 percent, which is nearly five times higher than local regulation, making it a colorful urban forest park in all seasons," says VCA. "In order to increase the volume in absorbing carbon, multiple species of trees with better carbon absorption volume are planted by specialized botanists to contribute to protecting the air quality."

In a bid to help it withstand any seismic activity, Tao Zhu Yin Yuan features a “nuclear plant-grade” structural core
In a bid to help it withstand any seismic activity, Tao Zhu Yin Yuan features a “nuclear plant-grade” structural core

The project is slated to receive the LEED Gold green building standard. Notable sustainable additions include solar and wind power to reduce its draw on the grid (though we've no hard figures on power consumption available yet), rainwater recycling, a focus on natural ventilation, and energy monitoring systems. There are also regenerative elevators, efficient heating, and water-saving water fixtures installed.

Additionally, earthquakes and high winds are a real concern in that part of the world, so VCA has employed what it calls "nuclear plant-grade" seismic protection in the form of a structural design that's partly inspired by human skiers that the firm says exceeds seismic regulations.

"Structural design found inspiration in the body structure of the skier," adds the firm. "The central core of the tower is the human body. The 5-m [16-ft] truss structure above 21F are the two arms. The megacolumns on the two sides are the ski poles. A suspended structural system and a Vierendeel truss system (a set of beams for every two floors) transfer all the weight via the arms (beams) to the body (central core) and then down to the foundation. The result is a one‐of‐a‐kind structural design that combines the science of mechanics and the art of aesthetics."

Tao Zhu Yin Yuan features
Tao Zhu Yin Yuan features significant sustainable technology, including solar panels to reduce its electricity draw on the grid

The Tao Zhu Yin Yuan's exterior looks all-but finished and work is now ongoing to finish its interior for a slated official completion in late 2021.

Source: VCA

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6 comments
6 comments
ChairmanLMAO
Feels like I'm living in a virtual reality game similar to Entropia Universe.
buzzclick
You folks at New Atlas should do a status report of buildings designed/built with greenery-filled facades and what they look like 3-5 years later.
Apart from that, I can't decide if this VCA creation is too busy or not. There's a lot going on.
Jeff7
Hilarious. The green stuff on those balconies will have to grow a lot to offset all that concrete. I suggest just buying carbon offsets in an accredited scheme that plants proper trees anywhere in the world will achieve a lot more. (Or buying an EV). The specialised arborists will generate a lot more CO2 driving to that building than those planters will save.
bahbah
The shape is interesting but does it just make it different or does it give any functional benefits, such as better protection from wind or earthquake? Does the shape in any way increase energy efficiency? Let’s get the priorities right.
deckhand
It would be fascinating to see the building under construction. Did they use scaffolding?
With the open, spiral design, that would have required quite the array.

Also: what happens when the annual carbon capture reaches limits? Do they harvest the plants and trees and plant anew? That's a lot of extra weight to add to the structure every year.
ReservoirPup
You can call it whatever except boring and dull. What a contrast with the surrounding buildings. Good job!