Winners of the 2nd Taichung
City Urban Space Architecture
Award. Hong Chuan
Construction Co. Architectural
works within the urban jungle
resemble the different trees of
a forest. The three-leaflet
configuration of the "About the
Forest" development, merging
with the lush nearby Wenxin
Forest Park, resembles an
enormous tree growing out of
water. Residents here certainly
can enjoy a special "forest
Beautiful installation art and
buildings can positively affect
the surrounding ambiance and
The cafe of Infinity Vision
Treasure Dragon Chairwoman
Chang Li-li and Compass
Magazine Co-Publisher Douglas
The saloon of Infinity Vision
The Rise of Taichung's New Architectural Style
Written by Uvia Chang Translated by Angel Pu
Some photos courtesy of Taiwan Hong Co., Treasure Dragon Corp and HuiYu Architecture
Based on exclusive interview with Chang Li-li, Taichung Real Estate Development Association president & Treasure Dragon Corp. chairwoman
A growing influx of foreign visitors to Taichung is also providing increasingly opportunities for outsiders to witness and experience the city's distinct architectural styles and high quality life. Symbolizing the many positive developments in Taichung's flourishing construction industry is the fact that Taichung has been chosen to host the 64th World Congress of FIABCI (The International Real Estate Federation) in 2013. This international real estate convention, with over 60 years of history, has been held in many high-profile cities around the world, and soon, Taichung will become on of them. This clearly offers a rare and precious opportunity for the world to see and better understand Taiwan's real estate industry.
What do these developments mean for Taichung's people? As the third biggest municipality in Taiwan, Taichung City has an international airport, harbor and science park, with the Taichung Gateway project under development. These are all among the criteria for being an international city. Moreover, Taichung has been selected as the only Asian city among the world's top seven "Intelligent Cities" by the Intelligent Community Forum in 2012. Living in such a great city, we have become witnesses to the development of Taichung's urban landscape.
What are Taichung's unique architectural characteristics?
While some observers might not normally consider Taichung's buildings to be as splendid or glamorous as ones in Taipei or Kaohsiung, this city's structures are more about creating a beautiful, attractive environment and ambiance for residents that cannot be seen from the outside. Functionality is important; for example, Taichung buildings' common areas are bigger than Taipei and Kaohsiung's, which allows for more community activities. Taipei residences are often "empty boxes" while the majority of Taichung's are fully decorated and furnished. These are among the attributes that draw people from other parts of Taiwan to purchase real estate in Taichung. As Treasure Dragon Corp. chairwoman Chang Li-li notes, "We aren't selling houses; we're selling a lifestyle."
Left: Pin Zhen Di's public bronze statues on the street.
Right: Infinity Vision by Hui Yu Architecture
How can everyone living in this city share the beauty of architecture?
Another unique aspect of Taichung's architecture is that building public spaces don't stick out but, rather, are coordinated and blend in with the surrounding environment. In earlier days, the idea of a "building" was constructing a closed-in structure that was almost fully isolated from the outside. In Taichung, this has changed so that many buildings now have open squares in front of entrance lobbies that are integrated with the street. Demonstrating how important such open spaces now are for Taichung buildings, every new construction project located within the 7th Redevelopment Zone is required to follow laws governing open spaces, which dictate that the main structure area needs to be kept at least 10 meters from the street.
To summarize Taichung's advantages, the city offers plenty of open spaces, great weather, an international transportation hub, and home prices that are one-third cheaper than Taipei's. Today, there are many people, not just from other parts of Taiwan but also from abroad, who are coming to Taichung and considering real estate puchases. As one customer from China has noted, Taichung is a place where something fascinating always awaits one's discovery.
Left: Infinity Vision by Hui Yu Architecture
Right: Installation art is displayed in public areas.
What will be our legacy for our descendants?
During the past two decades, Taichung's construction styles have progressively developed according to Japanese, American, Postmodern and Classical styles, to a current focus on "green" buildings. Over the course of this transition, Taichung developers have finally discovered that one the most important factors in a good building is an expression of unique local cultural and historic characteristics. In the Analects of Confucius, Confucius has said that if we get to choose, we need to live in a quality and beautiful neighborhood, and that leads to a question. What can we do to make sure that our descendants can live in such ideal place?
According to Chang Li-li, Taichung's construction industry now needs is a return to purity and simplicity, and an effort to fuse these with more cultural factors. For her, this will also be a key to future development in this ever-changing city, and our legacy for our descendants.
Left: The library of Pin Zhen Di, a building constructed by Treasure Dragon Corp.
Right: The Cultural and Creative Gallery of Treasure Dragon Corp.