Construction on this unusual twisting tower, named Agora Garden, recently began in Taipei City , according to its designer Vincent Callebaut Architecte. The trademark twist of the vertical garden-cum-luxury residential block was inspired by the double helix of the DNA molecule.
Over the tower's 20 stories its residential apartments twist through a 90º angle. One of the purposes of this form is to create a series of "suspended open-air gardens" which will apparently hang from the level above without eating into highly-prized floor area. Two apartments will be built on each floor. Inevitably this arrangement greatly increase's the building's surface area, which, one imagines, will at least have some effect on the tower's thermal performance.
The designers claim that all construction materials and furnishings will be made of either recycled or recyclable materials. The building will also include building-integrated photovoltaic power, apparently placed in the pair of giant horizontal shades that sit at the very top of the building.
Claims of an "energy self-sufficient building" will depend on the whole energy demand being met on site: a tall order considering the building will apparently be provided with hot and cold air throughout.
Rainwater harvesting, composting and "state-of-the-art nanotechnologies" are also listed among the technologies present, though it's not clear what form, precisely, the latter will take. A light well will pass through the building, curving to adapt to the route of the core, which will inevitably increase the light absorption en route to lower levels. Blinds will be integrated into the facades to prevent heat gain, and double glazing will be used to prevent heat loss.
Gizmag has asked for clarification on what nanotechnologies are set to be used, and the contribution the solar power is expected to make towards the building's power consumption. It's being hailed as a great piece of green design, but without seeing some numbers, it's simply impossible to make that call.
Construction is expected to be completed in 2016.