Taichung, Taiwan / 2013

An art museum and a library, this proposal is both a cultural destination and a gateway in Taichung. Rather than consolidating the two functions into a monolithic, subdivided block, the museum and library are proposed as two distinct vertical figures. This allows for visual and physical connections to Gateway Park from the city, and creates spatial tension. Each figure has a specific character, evoking a set of giant toys, totems, or ancient artifacts.

Shroud and Nested Figures

A ‘shroud’ connects the two figures visually without fusing them into a homogeneous mass, while creating a shaded public square below. The museum figure presses up into the shroud, as the library figure presses down into the shroud from above to produce mysterious, elastic formal effects and complex sectional spaces. Despite these local perturbations, the cornice height of the shroud remains at 30 meters, the height of the planned convention center to the north. This newly elevated datum creates continuity along the urban corridor and avoids the sense of detachment often associated with iconic buildings.

From razor-thin to thick, the shroud varies in thickness to allow for structural depth and inhabitable spaces. Inside the thickest area, a sky deck connects the Museum and Library at mid-level and provides views over Gateway Park. Bridges pass through the interstitial space between the shroud and the figures at the sky deck level; a glass enclosure connects the building’s various parts together. Visitors experience a momentary loss of orientation and groundedness as they traverse these flying bridges and glimpse the city beneath.

Ambiguous Scale Effects

Metaseams are used to create atectonic super-figuration on the shroud. Similar to the craft of stitching and seaming in fashion design, where joints are often employed for visual effect rather than simply to attach pieces of fabric together, metaseams may relate to means of construction, but they also may not. While the metaseams in this case do in fact physically break up the shroud into supercomponents for construction and erection, their most important function is to create architecturally ambiguous scale-effects that make the building difficult to categorize and consume.

Location: Taichung, Taiwan
Floor Area: 45,000 SM
Program: Fine Art Museum and Library
Client: City of Taichung