Designed by WOHA Architects, Huaku Sky Garden is located at the base of the foothills of the Yang Ming mountain range, in the Tianmu district of northern Taipei. Taiwan’s apartment architecture has been heavily influenced by Japanese colonial and 1980s post-modernism, resulting in heavy, solid blocks. This project breaks away from that influence and is the only high-rise residential tower in its neighbourhood.
The architecture addresses a very scenic view with rolling mountains as the backdrop and vibrant cities in the foreground. The building is expressed as twin towers in a symmetrical, interlinked form with thick columns. Earthquake and typhoon-proof requirements demanded a strong and symmetrical structural frame, which led to the architectural solution of a Chinese-inspired screen in multiple scales, from the oversized structural frame to the delicate metal filigree.
The façade adapts the rectangular asymmetry of traditional Chinese joinery and screen designs and possesses a delightful abstraction. It is enhanced by the depth of the recessed gardens on the double-volume terraces of each apartment. To ensure privacy between the apartments and to embellish the Yang Ming panorama, the slender east and west elevations are veiled with ornamental screens. The permutation and repetition of simple modules in the ornamental screens of this 38-storey tower not only express the beauty of the building, providing a landmark for the area, but also acts as a sun shade in the hot summer months. As the load is borne by the external walls, the interiors are column-free, spacious and uncluttered – a release from the congested city below.
The interlocking section is designed with three objectives in mind: The first is dual frontage apartments with views of the city and the mountains. The second is natural cross-ventilation, and the third is spatial excitement. The interlocking allows a double-height terrace and entryway despite being a single-level apartment. The double-volume terraces create an outdoor garden quality, underlining the ‘villa on the mountain’ concept and giving the apartments a grand view of the mountains.
In keeping with WOHA’s interest in sociable architecture, the ground level design provides continuity of the street blocks and an appropriate scale in view of the adjacent buildings and surrounding neighbourhood, with gardens, green walls and retail shops that interact with the streetscape.