Located in the Xinyi District of Taipei, Tao Zhu Yin Yuan, more famously known as the Agora Garden, is an ultra-modern residential building. It has been a point of observation and study for many designers for its peculiar twisted structure. The building has a height of 306 ft comprising 21 floors above ground and three basements.  It has a LEED gold and diamond label and has also won multiple awards.

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The Agora Garden, though an ultra-modern residential Tower, focuses on the importance of dealing with global warming at the grass-root level. The idea is to promote carbon-absorbing architecture and hence is popularly termed as a carbon-absorbing vertical forest. The Agora garden is a perfect fusion of oriental and western culture. 

Here are a few lesser-known facts about the Agora Garden in Taipei:

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10 Things about you did not know about Agora Garden, Taipei - Sheet1
The Agora Garden © www.construction21.org

1. The Paragon Of Biomimicry

The design is based on the ecosophy of self-sustaining biomes. The Agora garden focuses on constructing an ecological footprint by studying and implementing the relationship strategies between nature and humans. It is conceptualized as a double helix DNA structure that mimics the biological dynamism of the Deoxyribonucleic acid in any organism’s body, which carries the genetic instructions for development, functioning and growth. 

The twenty levels of the building stretch and twist at 90 degrees coiling the central core creating a rather harmonious pattern personifying the ultimate balance appraised by the project.

10 Things about you did not know about Agora Garden, Taipei - Sheet2
The DNA structure of the tower_©Vincent Callebaut architectures

2. Eco-mimicry And Landscape Design

To produce a local and more sustainable micro-ecosystem, the team of architects and skilled landscape designers, focused on shaping the Agora garden as an urban forest. Nearly 6000-sq.m area is accountably covered by plants creating a green coverage of almost 246%.

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The idea was to establish mental peace and physical balance for the residents by incorporating nature into their immediate surroundings. There are forest-like trails, artistic landscaping, recreational zones, feng shui gardens, a natural waterfall etc. All this accounts for no less than 23000 trees and shrubs in this eco mimicked tower.

10 Things about you did not know about Agora Garden, Taipei - Sheet3
The Plan_©Vincent Callebaut architectures
10 Things about you did not know about Agora Garden, Taipei - Sheet4
The Agora Garden Ariel view_©Vincent Callebaut architectures

3. The Multifaceted Plantations

The different plantations and green covers provided in the entirety of the tower focus on many important features to create a sustainable living for the residents.

The idea is to incorporate cultivable flowers, vegetables, aromatic plants and falling/climbing species in the residential balconies right outside the bedroom. While the idea of kitchen gardens and outdoors garden sanctuaries will line the balconies for the kitchen and the living areas. Whenever the tower is observed from the locality, instead of appearing as a reinforced tower with glass and steel, the building appears as a twisted green mountain. Thus the plants, which form the skin of the building, play a very important role.

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The plantations_©Vincent Callebaut architectures

The majority of these plants are deciduous, and as a result, they give a chance to these planted essences to naturally evolve through different seasons. It will appear as a verdant green in the summers, a mix of fiery red and bright golden in the autumn while blooming with thousands of colours in the spring. This, in turn, will change the skin of the tower every season.

10 Things about you did not know about Agora Garden, Taipei - Sheet6
The changing facades_©Vincent Callebaut architectures

4. The Team 

Conceived as a design for an international competition, the Tao Zhu Yin Yuan is the brainchild of the Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut who works from his Design firm in Paris. The project was taken up for BES Engineering Corporation and had a huge team focused on the construction of this one of a kind tower. 

The local architect was CKP Designs, based in Taipei, with the structural mastermind King Li Chang and associates. International and local landscape teams were also set up, namely, SWA Sausalito from San Francisco and Horizon & Atmosphere from Taipei itself. Evertek was also hired as the green consultant.

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10 Things about you did not know about Agora Garden, Taipei - Sheet7
The team_©Vincent Callebaut architectures
10 Things about you did not know about Agora Garden, Taipei - Sheet8
The team_©Vincent Callebaut architectures

5. World Class Sustainable Features

The ideology behind the design was to build a true image of a vertical landscape with low energy exhaustion. The tower is not only rich in design but sustainability as well. Consider facilities such as rainwater recycling, BIPV Solar photovoltaic roofs, light wells, compost pits, organic fertilization, ecologic nests, and the power to absorb 130 tonnes of carbon emission, which is equivalent to the emission by 24 cars. 

The Agora tower is a wonderful manifestation of a sustainable future. It is a self-sustaining living being.

10 Things about you did not know about Agora Garden, Taipei - Sheet9
The roof plan_©Vincent Callebaut architectures
10 Things about you did not know about Agora Garden, Taipei - Sheet1
Sustainable features_©Vincent Callebaut architectures

6. Spatial Planning

The Agora Tower has luxury residential apartments of 540 sq. m superimposing each other with the planted twists coiling the core. There are four different typologies of 2 and 4 unit floors. The first typology has 2 units of curved living rooms coiling the core. The second typology has 2 units with living rooms stretched along the southern façade. 

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The third typology has 2 units of living rooms supporting the panoramic view and the fourth typology has 4 units of luxurious duplexes with double-height living rooms. Along with this, there are multiple landscaped recreational spaces for the residents, along with two huge rooftop clubs.

10 Things about you did not know about Agora Garden, Taipei - Sheet11
Typical Floor Plan_©Vincent Callebaut architectures
10 Things about you did not know about Agora Garden, Taipei - Sheet12
Interiors render_©Vincent Callebaut architectures

7. The Moat

Another interesting feature for improving the residential experience and privacy is the mineral water moat that surrounds the Agora Garden. This moat is no less than an exotic glade, which not only enhances the view of the individual residences but also acts as a buffer from the surroundings. 

Even though the access road, that is, the Song Yong road, isn’t too active, this moat is a great value addition. It has organic urban furniture and walls, which rise to become planted surrounding walls.

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Agora garden_©Vincent Callebaut architectures

8. The Philosophical Ideology Of Design

The Agora garden isn’t only a result of exceptional biomimicry. It has the Chinese philosophy of yin and yang associated with it. Humanity and nature coexist to improvise and nourish each other, just like the tower, which shows a fusion of grace and sophistication by creating the seamless interdependencies of this urban forest with its residents.

10 Things about you did not know about Agora Garden, Taipei - Sheet14
Agora garden_©Vincent Callebaut architectures

9. Architectonics

The Agora Garden is built on the plan of a circle with two wings on either side. The exoskeleton of the building is steel bearing to stiffen the structure. The tower is twisted over the entire height by 90 degrees forming an inverted pyramid.

This structure is supported by a strong truss system behind the reflective glass facade. Oblique shafts support vertical flow while light vents go down to the basement for natural lighting. The entire structure works on a double wall and double glass system, which in turn creates a thermal balance and protection from solar radiation.

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10 Things about you did not know about Agora Garden, Taipei - Sheet15
The elevations_©Vincent Callebaut architectures

10. The Changing Perspective

The amazing Helix structure of the Agora Garden gives the tower a chance to overlook the beautiful city of Taipei from every angle. Every floor plate shifts by 4.5 degrees for the building to achieve the structure. As a result of this, the perspective of view for the people residing within the tower changes for every floor. 

10 Things about you did not know about Agora Garden, Taipei - Sheet16
Changing perspectives_©Vincent Callebaut architectures
Author

Ayushi is an architect with a sensitivity towards global architecture and its cultural importance. She is also an exemplary artist which in turn helps her in capturing the essence of creative and colourful endeavours across the world.A keen interest in writing, researching and curating has led her to venture into the field of Architectural Journalism.

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