Vincent Callebaut, 44 years old and originally from La Louvière, Belgium, has excelled himself after coming up with this innovative piece of top-class architecture – the Agora Garden Tower in Taipei, also called Tao Zhu Yin Yuan. This 93-metre high, 21-storey residential tower known as the Agora Garden Tower looks particularly futuristic, inspired as it is by the shape of the double DNA helix.
Callebaut designs and builds with the future in mind. Biomimetic and plus-energy buildings that produce their own power, vertical forests, pollution-removing towers and boats, floating cities and ocean-scrapers, vertical food farms. With over 50 projects to his name, including several currently under construction, Callebaut is definitely an active proponent of people-oriented and environmentally-friendly architecture that ushers in new eco-lifestyles and new circular economy.
Each floor of the Agora Garden Towerturns by about 4.5°, which means that at the very top, the colossus is at an angle of no less than 90° to the ground floor. In the coming years, a total of 23,000 trees, shrubs and plants will turn the façades, balconies, terraces and garden green and will successfully filter out an estimated 130 tons of CO₂ from Taipei’s atmosphere each year. Botanical specialists are particularly on the look-out for tree species with a higher carbon absorption capacity that have the potential to improve air quality even further than local regulations already require.
It would be entirely appropriate to call the development a colourful urban forest park. Add to this the numerous sustainability features, such as solar and wind energy for reduced power consumption, energy monitoring systems, rainwater reuse, natural ventilation and innovative lift technology, and we come to realise that this is clearly a very unusual type of eco-friendly building indeed. Especially when one realizes that the design of the building was inspired by the body structure of a skier, so as to provide the building with seismic protection equivalent to that of a nuclear power station, which is extremely important in an earthquake-prone region like Taiwan.
Callebaut began expanding his work outside of Brussels and Paris, spreading the gospel of sustainable and low carbon emission living as well as green architecture outside of Europe and across the African and Asian continents.
Among his most celebrated projects are the self sufficient amphibious city called Lilypad, a Floating Ecopolis for Climate Refugees – a long-term solution to rising water levels and the four challenges of climate, biodiversity, water, and health that was laid out by OECD – and Dragonfly, a Metabolic Eco-concept Farm for Urban Agriculture in New York City.
Like an unstoppable force, Callebaut then went on to create the award winning project Tao Zhu Yin Yuan Tower under construction in Taipei that received the International Architecture Award 2014 from the Chicago Athenaeum in New York. The same project also won the Highly Commended Award 2015 during the World Architecture Festival in the Future Residential Buildings category in Singapore. Another Asian project, the Asian Cairns, Sustainable Farmscrapers in Shenzhen was finalist for the Design German Awards 2014.
The Agora Garden Tower is a feat of mechanical ingenuity, sustainability, art and aesthetics all in one.