Paris-based Vincent Callebaut – who styles himself an “archibiotect” – is designing buildings which save energy and absorb emissions in an attempt to fight global warming.
“I want to give hope for a better tomorrow,” he says.
One of his projects is set to be completed in September of this year in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital city. The Tao Zhu Yin Yuan — meaning “The Retreat of Tao Zhu” — will be covered in 23,000 trees and shrubs.
If Callebaut says the plants will absorb 130 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year – the equivalent of around 27 cars.
Taiwan as a whole produced more than 250 million tons of CO2 in 2014, according to the International Energy Agency.
But despite this huge figure Callebaut insists his design is “a big leap [against] global warming”.
He likens the building to an urban forest, but its appearance is actually modelled after a strand of DNA — a double helix twisting 90-degrees from base to top.
“The tower presents a pioneer concept of sustainable residential eco-construction that aims at limiting the ecological footprint of its inhabitants,” Callebaut explains.
The 21-story apartment complex builds in ways for residents to reduce their energy consumption. The design utilises natural lighting and ventilation. It also includes rainwater recycling and rooftop solar panels.
Callebaut has been behind several notable eco-concepts over the years, from a floating garden designed to clean European rivers to underwater skyscrapers created from ocean garbage. He has planned a 132-story urban farm for New York City, and an ambitious project to transform Paris from the City of Light into a green smart city by 2050.
“Outlandish and futuristic as [they] may seem,” he says, “the core of all my designs is an attempt to address the real threat that cities pose for humankind and our ecological balance.”