The Tao Zhu Yin Yuan Tower is a pioneering sustainable residential tower designed by Paris based Vincent Callebaut Architectures. After being awarded the project commission in a 2010 competition, the architects set out to create a building akin to an “inhabited tree” that could offer a vertical landscape with minimal energy consumption.

The 21 storey tower which is currently under construction in the Xinjin District of Taipei City, Taiwan, is directly modeled after a strand of DNA — a double helix twisting 90-degrees from base to top with each level turning by 4.5 degrees. According to the architects, this unique form provides solutions to 4 main objectives:

  • To be perfectly integrated in the North / South pyramidal profile of the Building Volume along with its East / West rhomboidal profile as well as the North-South reverse pyramid profile.
  • To generate a maximum of cascades for suspended open-air gardens, not part of the floor area ratio.
  • To offer every resident exceptional panoramic views of the Taipei skyline by multiplying the transversal views, especially towards the very close Taipei 101 tower and the Central Business District.
  • To generate from a flexible standardized level a progressive geometry which ensures the privacy of each apartment by avoiding direct visual axes.

 

The design of the Tao Zhu Yin Yuan tower (which means “The Retreat of Tao Zhu”), features a number of environmental as well as technological components that aid in reducing energy consumption.

The central core (which is a twisted vertical garden) has been designed to separate totally the vertical circulations into two housing units on each level. This core is fixed and features a double skin curtain wall system, that enables passive climate control for the vertical circulation and inner spaces, allowing for both natural ventilation and light. The core also features 2 staircases, 4 high speed elevators of 24 people (1800 kg), 1 car elevators (also useful to carry enormous art pieces, luxury antique vehicles, or even huge pianos, etc.), 2 sky garages in glass and also all the vertical shafts for the main flows. All these vertical flows are covered by a huge bearing exoskeleton in reinforced steel.

The apartments offer maximum spatial and technical flexibility. Spatially, each unit covers about 550 sqm, following two typical layouts on alternating floors, to best fit into the building’s virendeel beam structure. All levels are linked at both ends by two spiralling mega columns covered by green walls. This ensures each apartment remains completely free of columns.The technical flexibility is obtained by the integration of double decks and double walls that allow services and utilities remain hidden and embedded.

Other environmental features include a rainwater recycling system, low e-glass, a photovoltaic solar array on the roof and canopies. The tower will also be covered in 23,000 trees and shrubs on the various terraces and roof gardens. This extensive vegetations is intented to absorb up to 130 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions each year — the equivalent of around 27 cars.

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The tower has been described as a “Carbon-absorbing green tower” by Callebaut himself. In a report from CNN, the architect likens the building to an urban forest.

“The tower presents a pioneer concept of sustainable residential eco-construction that aims at limiting the ecological footprint of its inhabitants”

-Vincent Callebaut
The Tao Zhu Yin Yuan tower is expected to be completed by September 2017. You can see (many) more images as well as an in-depth, detailed description of the concept on the Vincent Callebaut project page.

Here are some construction images from the tower taken earlier in the year.

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PROJECT DETAILS
  • TYPE: International Competition – First Prize Winner in November 2010
  • INTERNATIONAL ARCHITECT: Vincent Callebaut Architectures, Paris
  • CLIENT: BES Engineering Corporation, Taipei
  • CONTRACTOR: Taiwan Kumagai Co, Ltd
  • CONTRACT LOCATION: XinYin District, Taipei City, Taiwan
  • PROGRAM: 42 Sustainable Apartments + Facilities
  • SURFACE AREA: 42.335.34 m²
  • DELIVERY: September 2017
  • CURRENT PHASE: Under construction
  • GREEN CERTIFICATION: U.S. Green Building Council, LEED Gold + Low Carbon Building Alliance, Diamond Level
  • LOCAL ARCHITECT: LKP Design, Taipei
  • STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: King Le Chang & Associates, Taipei
  • LOCAL MEP ENGINEERING: Sine & Associates, Taipei
  • INTERNATIONAL INTERIOR ARCHITECT: Wilson & Associates (WA), Los Angeles
  • INTERNATIONAL LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: SWA, Sausalito, San Francisco
  • LOCAL LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Horizon & Atmosphere (H&A), Taipei
  • INTERNATIONAL LIGHTING DESIGNER: L’Observatoire International, New-York
  • LOCAL LIGHTING DESIGNER: Unolai Design, Taipei
  • GREEN CONSULTANT: Enertek, Taipei
  • VCA’S TEAM: Emilie Diers, Frederique Beck, Jiao Yang, Florence Mauny,
    Volker Erlich, Philippe Steels, Marco Conti Sikic, Benoit Patterlini, Maguy Delrieu, Vincent Callebaut
  • MODEL MAKER: Patrick Laurent

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