Fun Magazine, September 2002
Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art
Foundations for the Future
It's hard not to notice the
Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art resting quietly amidst
the architectural relics on Chang Ang West Road. Only a
trace of the original facade remains, yet some passers by
who know the old neighborhood will recognize her face. One
step inside, though, will erase all memories. The interiors
have been completely overhauled and redesigned along more
modern lines that fuse the past and present, the traditional
and the trendy.
the early days of Japanese occupation, the structure
served as NAME. Later it became the NAME Elementary
School for Japanese students where only a handful of
Taiwanese youngsters were allowed to attend. At the
time, an expansive campus included two swimming pools,
a sumo wrestling ring and other athletic facilities.
When Japanese rule in Taiwan
came to an end in 1945, the building was designated for
government use as NAME. It continued in this capacity for
nearly forty years. When office spaces were finally relocated
in 1994, heated debate erupted in the community as to whether
the building should be saved or sacrificed to urban renewal.
In the end, city planners agreed to invest in historical
value rather than in commercial potential and the structure
survived. It is now earmarked to house contemporary paintings
and sculpture. Continuing renovation efforts means that
it too will evolve just like the arts that it will display.
many examples of vintage architecture in the city have
been given a new lease on life. Revived and restored,
they are once again a useful part of the cityscape.
The Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art is visible proof
that art, history and technology can cooperate, creating
a new foundation from which to enjoy the past and look
forward to the future.