Agora Garden in Taipei is under development and will be completed in 2016. Inspired by the double helix of DNA, Agora Garden will be an upscale apartment complex located in the business district. Greenery on the balconies will insulate the building. All of the building materials will be recycled or recyclable.
Vincent Callebaut Architectures won a competition for the project in 2010 with a design inspired by two encircling hands clasped together and the helical structure of DNA. To make this one of the most eco-friendly structures in the city, the Tower will have an orchard, a vegetable garden, space for aromatic and medicinal plants, and a compost and rainwater capture system.
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.
The suspended gardens spatter over with eatable and ornamental plants. In addition, the rainwater capture system gives the complex even greater independence by lessening the pressure on the municipal water supply.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.
On completing this project in 2016; each 540 square meter apartment will have an interior green wall as well, guaranteeing ideal air quality and a great green art. By pushing the day light right down to the basement by a circular light funnel, the solar absorbers capture and utilize the solar energy. Moreover, low E glass will moderate excess solar gain and prevent thermal loss.