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DNA-inspired twisting Agora Garden underway in Taipei City


March 19, 2013

The DNA helix-inspired Agora Garden (Image: Vincent Callebaut Architecte)

The DNA helix-inspired Agora Garden (Image: Vincent Callebaut Architecte)

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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.

Source: Vincent Callebaut Architecte via World Architecture News

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life. All articles by James Holloway

Again? Didn't we go through this kind of concept back in 2010?



In this case it is being built. It does appear to shift the maximum wind load to the foundation length rather than it width.


An interesting and thought provoking concept. Looking forward to seeing it completed.

...Of course, the talk of "nano-technology|" et al is all a load of marketing crap, which only undermines the proposal. When I see nano in my car or trainers then I may be persuaded, until then the fact is, it is just pure marketing nonsense.

Shame really, it suggests that the architects don't really believe in their proposal as a viable one without such "hype". This is a great shame because, firstly the scheme is being built, which gives it merit in real terms. The shame lies in not delivering on promises, which the scheme will inevitably accomplish on the grounds of pure architectural fantasy (AKA Bullshit) from its creators. This can only serve to inevitably undermine environmentally sensitive architectural proposals, generally. Maybe thats the way it goes in Taipei?

As for energy generation by roof alone...get as grip chaps! Provision for each apartments energy needs should have been addressed on an individual residence basis. At 2 units per floor, this is by no means unrealistic. Sadly, this has not been addressed and the proposal has more than enough room to accommodate this. Suggesting the roof can meet the energy needs of a multi-story residential block is ridiculous unless you are proposing a mushroom as your inspiration instead of DNA.

Come on.. were not stoopid!

David Shelley

re; David Shelley

The article said, "building-integrated photovoltaic power" It did not say that all the power would be met by solar. It also said there would be composting which would include an anaerobic digester which properly fed will produce significant quantities of methane that can be used to fuel a heat engine of your choice. Simply dumping all the buildings waste heat so that it heats air at the bottom of a chimney could generate significant airflow to power a windmill not dependent upon the vagaries of the weather. Also the builders didn't claim that they would not put an energy capture device on the black water pipe.

You just assumed that they were suggesting that the solar on the roof was the sole energy source.


bonne idée :)

Hichem Attallah
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