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DESIGNBOOM
New York 2016
U.S.A.
Vincent Callebaut's twisting carbon-absorbing tower takes shape in Taipei

In November 2010, paris-based architect Vincent Callebaut was chosen to construct a sustainable residential structure in taiwan. titled ‘tao zhu yin yuan’, the high-rise is now under construction, with completion scheduled for september 2017. the twisting building will carry 23,000 trees, which will absorb up to 130 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.

Located in central taipei’s xinjin district, the tower — ambitiously developed by BES engineering corporation — employs a pioneering concept of sustainable residential eco-construction that aims to limit the ecological footprint. consequently, vincent callebaut’s design has been conceived as a fragment of vertical land — or an ‘inhabited tree’. the landscape, designed by san francisco firm SWA, further reinforces the tower’s spiraling movement.

Taking the form of a double helix, the structure’s twisting shape responds to four key aspects of the brief. firstly, the building takes on a pyramidal profile when viewed from the north or south, respecting the existing context and various massing restrictions. secondly, the cascading shape allows for suspended open air gardens, meaning that the balcony surface area is able to easily exceed the required minimum of 10%.

The 90 degree twist also ensures that inhabitants have panoramic skyline views, particularly towards the nearby ‘taipei 101’ tower and the city’s central business district. finally, the form also ensures a progressive geometry where greenery offers seclusion and privacy throughout the day. each storey is rotated an incremental 4.5 degrees as the building ascends.

A fixed central core contains vertical circulation and separates the two housing units on each floor. the structural design means that a range of internal layouts are possible. when viewed from different angles, the building takes on a range of appearances, and, when seen from the top of the ‘taipei 101’, appears as a sustainable green urban landmark for the city.

‘In 2050, we will be 9 million of human beings on our blue planet and 80% of the world population will live in megacities,’ says vincent callebaut. ‘it’s time to invent new eco-responsible lifestyles and to repatriate the nature in our city in order to increase the quality of our life with the respect of our environment.’ see designboom’s previous coverage of the project here.