Hualien Residences is a green and mountainous housing project by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), commissioned by TLDC (Taiwan Land Development Corporation), a prominent land developer based in Taipei.  Although it is still under construction, Hualien Residences is intended to be a world-class beach resort housing complex that will consist of green “landscape stripes” that resemble Taiwan’s spine of mountains to the west. 

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Hualien Residences. ©big.dk

Architects: Bjarke Ingels Group
Location: Hualien City, Taiwan (ROC)
Partners in Charge: Bjarke Ingels, Jakob Lange, Finn Nørkjær
Project Manager: Andrew Lo
Design Architect: Cat Huang
Client: Taiwan Land Development Corporation
Collaborators: RJW, ARUP, Treegarden, Ken Sakamura
Area: 120000.0 m2
Project Year: 2018

The project encourages walking and exercise as it incorporates speed walking paths studded with interesting activities, underground jogging paths and an observation point. It was recognized as a finalist in the 2014 MIPIM awards under the ‘Best Futura Project’ category for its use of design to encourage healthy, active lifestyles for the complex’s primarily older residents.

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A Pedestrian Path at the Hualien Residence. ©big.dk

TLDC obtained the license to turn the once industrial and factory region into a world-class beach resort. Since the site is located prominently against the coast and near the intersection of two river deltas, it offers spectacular views. 

Taiwan’s spine of mountains can be seen to the west while the ocean is to the east whereas the Hualien city is five kilometers to the north. TLDC aims to create a dense neighbourhood that preserves and enhances the beauty of the surrounding nature as well as encourage active and social life outside the city. 

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Hualien Residences in context with the site. ©big.dk
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Diagram indicating External Views obtained from the site at Hualien Residences. ©big.dk
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Diagram indicating Internal Views obtained at Hualien Residences. ©big.dk

The first home at the Hualien Residences has been completed and seeks to offer prospective inhabitants a glimpse into the lifestyle and amenities of the development. The 1,000 square meter model-home showcases a bespoke furniture line by KiBiSi and an efficient layout shaped by the distinct narrow floor plate covered in vegetation that plays into the development’s overarching “folding hill structure.”.  

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1000 square meter Modular show-home. ©big.dk
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1000 square meter Modular show-home. ©big.dk
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Interiors of the Modular show-home. ©big.dk

Design Concept

“The Hualien Hills are a pragmatic utopian attempt at rural densification where the ecological qualities of nature aren’t consumed by the urban development, but rather extended and amplified. Where the Spaniards found ways to drill homes and cities into the porous rocks of the local mountains in Guadix, the Taiwanese are now building cityscapes of inhabited hillsides in Hualien,” said BIG founder Bjarke Ingels. 

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An echo of the Hualien Hills. ©big.dk

The Hualien Wellness & Residential development also aspires to create a sense of cohesiveness between nature, health and the built environment resulting in a perfect balance. This is achieved through the sloping green roofs which provide shade, remove heat, harvest rainwater and produce clean, breathable air, while a stress-relieving environment for residents is created with the proximity to lush vegetation in the apartments. The basic idea was to add to the quality of the environment therefore breaking away from the notion of urbanization which is considered nature’s cause of death.

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Master plan ©big.dk

Planning

The resort master plan incorporates a program of commercial as well as residential spaces within a language of green landscape stripes creating a mountain terrain that echoes the spine of mountains to its west. The stripes run east to west to capture the best views whilst also becoming an optimal shading system accommodating Taiwan’s hot and humid tropical climate. 

The low angle-high glare morning and evening sun, is effortlessly blocked by the stripes while the favorable north-south light is allowed into the units. The green roofs are designed to further mitigate the heat gain and when combined with the striping, it creates a low energy masterplan.

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Model of Hualien Residences indicating the various activity zones. ©dezeen.com

Form Development And Volumes

The Hualien Residences appear as a stylized landscape of hills, valleys and canyons as they echo the spine of mountains to its west. The floor plates are broken down into thin landscaped stripes, covered with green vegetation. BIG’s design of volumes in such a way that it ensures that the daylight and views reach deep into the residences, whilst also dipping down to form green pedestrian canyons and shortcuts between the buildings. 

The concept of layered volumes creates a zig-zag profile with the “green landscape stripes” consisting of solar panels on the roof with full height glazing on the front and the back. The broad array of buildings planned for the site all have similarly jagged outlines and once completed will create a stylized version of the spine of mountains to its west.

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Form Development. ©kibisi.com
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Diagram indicating Grid System used. ©big.dk
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Diagram indicating Structural System used. ©big.dk
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Hualien Residences ©big.dk

Green Roofs

“On a backbone of efficient layouts and rational circulation, the undulating roofs of the buildings provide the neighbourhood with a great variation in residence types and communal spaces,” adds the firm. To block out the glaring morning and evening sun the strips of the green roof meet the ground on either side and run from east to west. The roofs will create “canyons” between the buildings once the development is complete. 

The concept of landscaped roofs further mitigates heat gain which increases the comfort of the balconies and terraces, which in turn diminishes the energy loads for cooling.

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Overview of Green roofs. ©designboom.com
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Diagram indicating vegetation on green roofs. ©big.dk
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Hualien Residences ©big.dk

Climatology

Thermal exposure and glare from the low angle morning and evening sun are blocked by the landscape stripes which run east to west. Cool and comfortable microclimates are created at the pedestrian level due to the form and orientation of the structure.

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Diagram indicating sun orientation. ©big.dk

Interiors

Inside the apartment, the angled silhouettes impart an almost traditional vernacular feeling of attics and porches in the middle of the dense modern development. 

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Interiors of the apartment ©big.dk
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Ample daylight received in the interiors. ©achdaily.com
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Furniture complementing the interiors. ©livinspaces.ne

Bespoke Furniture

KiBiSi has designed a bespoke furniture series for the Hualien Residences. The series of customized furniture consists of eight different typologies that are inspired by both, Scandinavian design and the scheme’s folding hill structure of the building. The series is a blend of craft and comfort which can be seen in the lounge seating and sunbeds with corded welt edging. 

Another notable feature is how the wooden dining table, LED lamp, drawer unit, coffee table and technical shelf system with a flexible parallelogram construction, adapt to the tilting wall angles of the building.

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Flexible parallelogram construction. ©kibisi.com
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Interiors ©kibisi.com
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Interiors ©achdaily.pe

Growing Demand For A Second Home

The Hualien city has observed an outflux of young people seeking better job opportunities as well as an aging population with a growing demand for a second home. The Hualien Development particularly focuses on exercise and healthy living with a variety of programs catering to the aging population. The buildings are designed in such a way that they encourage the growth of a community that is health-conscious and productive. 

Despite the designated speed walking path, a public path wraps around the entire complex and consists of various engaging activities to generate a sense of interest and encourage more exercise and walking. The underground jogging path is multifunctional as it can be used during inclement weather as well as an excellent shortcut to all buildings via an interior route. The medical facility which is located within the complex ascertains that residents have ready access to health care services. 

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Hualien residences ©livinspaces.net
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Hualien residences ©livinspaces.net
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Diagram indicating the pedestrian circulation. ©big.dk
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Diagram indicating the internal circulation. ©big.dk

A Sense Of Community And Neighbourhood

The Hualien development encourages community and neighborly interaction. The public path is designed to act as a social condenser. The path can be used where people can shop leisurely, have informal gatherings, go jogging, or even take walks after dinner. The units are fitted only with basic functions to reinforce visits to the broad array of amenity spaces provided. This helps in community building amongst neighbours. 

Lounges, pools, media rooms and meditation spaces are provided to create low-stress situations for meeting people. People can also share and learn from each other in spaces such as the open kitchen, library and common gardens.

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Hualien Residence ©big.dk
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Hualien Residence ©big.dk
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Public paths act as a social condenser. ©big.dk

References

  • www.archdaily.com
  • www.dezeen.com
  • www.big.dk
Author

Sudhiksha.S is a passionately curious Architecture student who is exploring the untapped potential of Architecture through the medium of design and research writing. When she’s not busy finding a new vantage point for a design challenge, she’s busy being an avid globetrotter with a flaneur’s perspective.

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