Nature and Biodiversity

This futuristic building is helping tackle air pollution - thanks to 23,000 plants

People enjoy the warm weather in Central Park in New York City, U.S., October 18, 2016.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid - RTX2PDLX

The Tao Zhu Yin Yuan Tower in Taiwan has been uniquely designed to absorb 130 tons of carbon dioxide per year. Image: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Leanna Garfield
Reporter, Tech Insider
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A twisting, smog-eating tower is nearly finished in Taipei, Taiwan.

The skyscraper's facade, roof, and balconies will contain 23,000 trees and shrubs — nearly the same amount found in New York's Central Park. Inside, it will hold 40 luxury condos.

The plants are projected to absorb 130 tons of carbon dioxide per year — the equivalent of about 27 cars, lead designer Vincent Callebaut told Business Insider.

Called the Tao Zhu Yin Yuan Tower, or Agora Garden, the building topped out in July and is set to open by the fall. Take a look inside.

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The 455,694-square-foot structure, a double-helix twisting 90-degrees from base to top, is modeled on a DNA strand, Callebaut said.

Image: Vincent Callebaut Architectures

The 20-story skyscraper sits in the XinYi District, in the heart of Taipei City.

Image: Vincent Callebaut Architectures

The top floor was completed in July 2017.

The photo on the right shows what the tower will look like once the trees and shrubs are planted.

Image: Vincent Callebaut Architectures

The firm claims the balconies' plants will absorb 130 tons of carbon dioxide per year — a small fraction of the roughly 260 million tons of CO2 Taiwan in 2008, the latest year data is available.

Image: Vincent Callebaut Architectures

Plants will also grow inside to the tower's hallways, which will have glass flooring.

Image: Vincent Callebaut Architectures

Each unit will include a living room, dining room, family room, kitchen, and multiple bedrooms with walk-in closets.

Image: Vincent Callebaut Architectures

Two penthouses will each stretch 5,920 square feet.

Image: Vincent Callebaut Architectures

Residents will have a stunning view of Taipei from their terraces...

Image: Vincent Callebaut Architectures

... and they'll be able to swim in the skyscraper's indoor pool.

Image: Vincent Callebaut Architectures

Other amenities will include a garage and a fitness center — both naturally ventilated and lit.

Image: Vincent Callebaut Architectures

Callebaut, a Belgian architect, is known for his greenery-filled buildings. He sees the new tower as a small step toward a more sustainable future.

Image: Vincent Callebaut Architectures

Callebaut's other projects include a masterplan to revamp an industrial zone in Brussels, Belgium by adding luxury housing, restaurants, shops, office space, and greenhouses. His firm submitted the plan to the local government for review in February.

He is also working on a manta ray-shaped ferry terminal in Seoul, Korea. The designs for that structure, which were unveiled in June, also call for it to be covered in plants. And a solar-and-wind-powered building Callebaut designed in Cairo, Egypt is under construction and will contain rooftop community gardens and green living walls.

Construction on Agora Garden started in 2013, and is expected to wrap up in September.

Image: Vincent Callebaut Architectures
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Nature and BiodiversitySustainable Development
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