Biosphere, a special habitat in harmony with nature
The main users of this building would be the employees of the company. People here tend to work overtime every day and that has an impact on their psyche, and they would need a space that could keep them energized during their long work hours. We set out to design a space that reminded people of the nature that is around them but that they don’t notice. The result being a biosphere as the name implies, a special habitat created for a special company.
The project is located in the south and close to the north-south provincial highway in Taiwan. The narrow plot is less than 30 meters wide so space constraints are something that had to be accounted for. The site is hampered by noise from the provincial highway, air pollution, and concerns about employees and guests transiting to the office.
Climate change and global warming are an increasingly urgent issue, but the trend of people concentrating in urban areas is unavoidable. That means that architects must try to bring greenery into urban spaces as much as possible. This project continues the trend of trying to incorporate as many sustainable and eco-friendly principles as possible. This was done while accounting for the atmospheric conditions as well as the native plant species.
The building was stacked back to the back, hoping to create a focal point around the openness of the building's entrance. The building also has many suspended elements, deep balconies and sun visors. All of these components help to decrease the temperature inside the building. The windowed area in the west was reduced in size to decrease the energy usage from air conditioning. The windows along the front side were positioned in such a way that as the sun moves through the sky, a path of light can be seen moving through the office. This helps remind people in an office about the passage of time during the day.
Taiwan is in a subtropical environment. The exterior of the building is changed from waterproof tiling to a waterproof coating, which makes the exterior 2500x more hydrophobic while still allowing oxygen into and out of the building. This also solves the problem of unclean water coating the outside of a project creating a living building that breathes.
The color of the building and the large amount of greenery in the environment are intertwined with the greenery of the property to create a coordinated and friendly image of the entrance. The corridor of the entrance is surrounded by a high degree of natural sloping embankments and densely planted trees. The exterior is dotted with stone chairs. This creates a natural forest farm that reduces the impact of the polluted air on the human body and achieves the purpose of reducing noise. During times of high stress, the employees of the office can take a walk outside and feel like they have strolled into another biome.
Ken Lo is a well-known architect operating a boutique firm in the south of Taiwan. While having no formal training in architecture, in a relatively short time he has managed to assemble an impressive array of projects that have won numerous awards. These days his projects are all energy-saving green buildings. This means that all his buildings ensure adequate ventilation and airflow to minimize the need for extra cooling. Within a building, the interweaving of natural light and artificial light provides a sense of stability in the indoor environment. Mr. Lo's relationship with the green environment, architecture and interior space are all presented in his work. This bears similarities between people, life and living space. The thread of nature is something that he has held dear throughout his life and is something he hopes to carry forward into the future.