Taiwan Bio-Tower

Summer 2011
International Skyscraper Competition, Taichung, Taiwan
Hertweck Devernois Architects Urbanists,Versailles, France
in collaboration with  Florian Hertweck, Kevin Sourivong, Bertille Pruvost
taichung cradle to cradle
The Taiwan Tower Planning, Design and Construction Supervision Service Project is part of an important district in Taichung city that is currently in full redevelopment, located in what will become one of the most important areas of the city. The Taichung Tower itself is larged enough to be the equivalent of a genuine city fragment.
Before Delirious New York (Rem Koolhaas, 1978), the tower was practically always monofonctional, comprised of offices or housing. A decade later, and especially after the focus of the architectural discourse on density and mixity, the architectural research aimed once again this architectural typology, emblem of architectural congestion, in the same time trying to articulate inside these grand structures a programmatic diversity.
Our project proposes therefore a city inside a tower that becomes a vertical urban district mixing together different activities such as the research center, the observatory, the city museum, a hotel, offices, housings, restaurants and so one.

(click to enlarge)

ContextSection 2/4Program poles

The correlation that will interlock our project with the city in which it will take roots is visible also through its connection with the different flows: transport flows, human flows or energetic flows. As such, the tower plugs-in directly to the different networks of infrastructure, the road and the metro, whose new station will be directly connected to the tower. In the same way, the new park will be prolonged within the tower and constitute a true biosphere for the ensemble of the functions.
Leaving from the premise of a new vision on the territorial scale, between the city and the country side or production and consumption to Taichung city,this project looks primarily at program as key. Two major poles are defined – one that house all the facilities of our contemporary life(a retailment program comprised of shopping, hotels, culture, research centers, panoramic observatories and so on) – and another (a production pole) – set to fuel its counterpart. At the core of the Taichung tower lies its production core, a green space that draws up the park around it, fulfilling the role of public space, public garden, public resources and infrastructure knot. This immense void, that prolongs all the way up within the tower, reassembles the different typologies of production (both agricultural and energetic), making the tower an object that goes beyond pure energetic and food related consummation. The green development of the tower could feed up to 50,000 people, but would not efficiently exist without its retailment counterpart. Towers that are designed exclusively as vertical farms are economically unviable as the construction costs far exceed the subsequent production output, but in this case, the combination of program relevant in the economical market conditions of today (the retailment pole) and the production needs of tomorrow (the production pole) make this project a coherent economic and sustainable solution.
Together with the interlocked programs, the tower responds to site conditions, affining itself to the north to protect from strong winds and recurrent typhoon storms, while opening to the south and allowing the agricultural pole to optimize its natural light impact.
The animal versus the vegetal universes are naturally interlinked and lead to constant resource recycling. The CO2 animals exhale make vegetables ripen faster, while they in turn replenish the air with oxygen. The nitrogen cycle ranges from plant production to animal ingestion, digestion and back again in the vegetable realm as natural fertilizers. Such basic natural principles can be used in the architectural production through the recycling of air, grey/black waters and food disposal into an agricultural area that in turn will thrive and furnish food and clean air. Unlike traditional vertical farms that stack horizontal slabs on top of each other and produce crops in large due to the use of artificial illumination, our genuinely vertical agricultural system is optimized in order to receive maximum sunlight. Specific crops are then determined by the amount of natural light an area receives in an intelligent vegetable chain. Artificial illumination only supplements the natural rhythm of the sun, thus managingto keep artificial energy consumption to a minimum.
The crops grow in an hydroponic solution filled with natural fertilizers obtained from recycled waste of the retailment program pole. The southern facade of the tower is then equipped with photovoltaic glass panels which will provide the energetic needs for the system to be independent.
Program schemaCradle to cradle designInsolation map

Project geometry factors

South view

The self sustaining structure, thanks to its geometry, acts like a mesh between two surfaces – the exterior and the interior one that defines the central void of the production core. By avoiding a pillar-beam-core structure and through optimization, this tower is lighter and more economic than its traditional counterparts, thus reducing grey energy.
Furthermore, its aerodynamic triangular shape reinforces its stability and efficiency as it functions as a core. An exterior second skin regulates the natural air flow and sunlight exposure of the retailment program and generates electricity through the use of glass integrated solar panels.
The circulations are based on an efficient schema of general versus local vertical movement. The two main circulation poles are comprised of large elevators that fuel main stops of the tower corresponding to the program. The local circulation, connects through the use of local elevators, escalators and staircases all levels, in order to ensure an optimal efficiency within the vertical movement in the tower. also, by placing a large part of the towers circulation in the production core, superposing programs, we arrive a more efficient ratio between usable surfaces and circulation.
Taichung tower structure schemaCirculation system schemaCirculation system schema

Park entrance

Ground floor

Hotel floor plan

Research center and observatory plans

North view