Taichung Up Close: The International Real Estate
Federation in Taichung special feature
International architecture sinks its roots
Article provided by Sunny FM
Translated by Sho Huang
Photos provided by Taichung Real Estate Development Association
The distance between Taichung City and the rest of the world grows smaller and smaller!
Over the past decade, almost everything in Taichung has become increasingly "world-class", from technology and culture to architecture, as the outside world has also become increasingly familiar with this city. These were factors in a decision by the FIABCI (International Real Estate Federation) to hold its 64th annual meeting in Taichung. From May 24 to 30, 2013, guests from all over the globe will be in Taichung for this event, further reducing the distance between our city and the world.
This column aims to introduce recent Taichung developments from a professional perspective and promote its beauty and improvements.
As the May 24th grand opening day for the 64th annual meeting of FIABCI looms, both Taichung's government and private sectors are gearing up to welcome this significant event. As this takes place, a shared sentiment is loud and clear, "We're honored to host this event and we're going to make Taichung proud."
Naturally, many organizers are looking to the architectural sector for the inspiration and plenty of bright ideas have been proposed for this event. One has been to send out invitations to real estate agents worldwide to visit our city's public facilities and check out its designs and styles; another great concept is "Night never falls on Taichung", allowing foreign guests to appreciate the city's beautiful building lighting designs with a "light tour" program taking place from sunset to midnight.
About 1,000 FIABCI members are expected to attend the annual meeting in Taiwan, leading some local observers to wonder whether the quality of Taichung's architecture is sophisticated enough to impress all these real estate heavyweights from around the globe. As a matter of fact, Taichung Real Estate Development Association President Chang Li-li assures us that this city's architectural industry began collaborating with a number of renowned international architects many years ago. The lessons learned from the professional architecture teams of many countries have been applied to developments in Taichung, including the 7th Redevelopment Zone plan, where many outstanding, modern and well-designed buildings dominate the city skyline. Many of these have earned high praise and been rated together with the world-class architectural landmarks.
The main reason for the city's prosperous growth of modern buildings is its geographic advantage and timing. Taichung is a base for many Taiwanese businesspeople and construction in the 7th Redevelopment Zone began to reach completion right around the time that many Taiwanese businesspeople with a lot of experience living and traveling overseas decided to invest in Taichung. This meant that the timing for meeting such demands was perfect.
Of course, Taichung City Government's active solicitation of international teams for the design of public facilities has also contributed to this successful transformation. Taichung Mayor Jason Hu, whose political career has probably given him the strongest background in international diplomacy in Taiwan, has relentlessly emphasized the importance of building "an international city". If you look at Taichung's three recent major public developments--the new city hall and city council hall, and the opera house--you'll realize that all were designed by internationally-renowned architects. Weber Hofer AG Architects was responsible for the first two structures while Toyo Ito is the mastermind behind the Taichung Metropolitan Opera House. Clearly, architecture in Taichung has gone international.
Such architectural trends naturally influence Taichung's own architectural industry, as a growing number of local construction firms seek out internationally-known architectural teams for cooperation in the hopes of rejuvenating designs as well as raising standards. Examples are abundant, including the "Hyde Park One" project by Jinray Construction Co., the garden construction series by Pao-Hui Construction Co., and the "Oriental Crown" development by Fu-yu Construction Co.
The general manager of Pao-Hui shared his views regarding cooperation with international architectural teams, noting that integrating talents from both sides had its difficulties. While the hefty costs might be the first thing to come to everyone's mind, the biggest challenge was establishing a platform where communication could take place and middle ground could be found, he said, adding that although it was a long, hard journey, the scenery along the way and end result made it all worthwhile.
After collaborating with Di Leonardo on "Hyde Park One" in 2008, Jinray's recent work is "Town House", its second international-cooperation project. This time, its international partner is BBG-BBGM, in charge of The Peninsula Hotel. Jinray's general manager pointed out that many precious lessons could be drawn from working with international architecture firms, including their different perspectives of design, new innovative materials, and being tuned in with cutting-edge trends. All of these are helping raise the architectural standards for both individual structures and the city at large to another level.
Taichung Metropolitan Opera House