History and background
The current site for Taichung’s newest and largest park has a very interesting and varied background. During the Japanese colonial era, it was utilized as the then Taichu Prefecture’s only commercial airport and later became Taichung’s Shuinan Airport, used for both military and civilian flights. From 1946 it has also served as an important hub for Taiwan’s aerospace industry. All this changed in 2004, when Taichung International Airport opened at Ching Chuan Kang Air Base, leading Taichung City Government to redesignate the old site as the Shuinan Economic and Trade Park (a.k.a. Taichung Gateway Park) in 2007. According to plans, this development will eventually host not only Central Park, but also an international convention and exhibition center, and “museumbrary” (museum and library). This venue will also include an ecological park with a renewable energy and smart management system, business park, and university-related facilities. Those who still don’t have a clear idea of where this park is located may recall another claim to fame, as this is where the movie “Life of Pi” was in large part filmed by director Ang Lee.
Construction of Taichung Central Park began in 2014, and was partially opened to the public in November, 2018 for the launch of the Taichung Flora Exposition, and now is fully completed.
An eco-friendly, smart park
With a budget of NT$2.7 billion, the 67-hectare Central Park is also being referred to as the “lungs of Taichung”. World-renowned architects Catherine Mossbach and Philippe Rahm proposed an ambitious and innovative series of microclimates as the guiding thought behind their “Atmospheres of Wellbeing” proposal for the park. These microclimates, scattered throughout the linear site, are to be the product of natural and artificial devices. The exterior climate of the park is thus modulated so to create spaces that are less hot, less humid, and less polluted.
The public can download a “台中中央公園” (Taichung Central Park) app for the latest updated information, obtained via 162 microclimate sensors in the park. These systems, together with the park’s concepts of low-carbon, smart management and innovation can also adjust its climate via natural sources, including abundant trees, geology and air flow. There are 10,000 square meters of solar panels installed on the southern and northern sides of the parking lot, as well as five water-regeneration sites to collect rainwater and reuse it to nurture park plants.
Green, ecological pathways
Three color-coded main paths (Cool Path, Dry Path, Clean Path) connect all these specific park climatic zones, offering a diversity of promenades, from the flat Clear Path to the more athletically-challenging Dry Path. At night, colored lights differentiate the paths as well. A gradual densification of trees, including maple, eucalyptus, sap and other arbor trees, can be seen along the paths, providing shade. Chinese banyan trees around the Dry Path help absorb humidity at the ground level. You may also see squirrels and black-shouldered kite birds on the branches of Pistacia chinensis, Qinggang, and Looking Glass trees around the Clear Path. This natural setting creates a perfect environment for fireflies and egrets as well.
Experiencing the park with ’12 senses’
Twelve park pavilions are designed in relation to the “12 senses”, allowing visitors to experience extraordinary, poetic and playful sensory inputs. This is derived from Waldorf Education’s philosophical concept of working with the 12 senses of touch, life, movement, balance, smell, taste, sight, temperature, hearing, speech, thought, and ego. This belief in the 12 senses also notes, “These senses enable us to perceive the external world while we are here in the physical world.”
The first brown-colored, four-story pavilion is called “Self-exploration” and formed out of layers of wood. “Listening-exploration” is another pavilion that comes with three-note wind chimes; “Balance-exploration” is an interesting pavilion that literally “flows in the air” while “Speech-exploration”, built in the Tien-Chi Center that comes with a scenic pond (天池中心), is a wooden pavilion providing a leisurely setting for visitors to chat and communicate. There are many other spots to explore in this eco-friendly park, whose scenery changes according to the varying seasons, climates and times.
交通資訊 Transportation information
Parking: Paid parking for cars is NT$10 per 30 minutes, and NT$20 per motorcycle per visit.
Bus stop: Henan Parking, Taiwan Fund For Children and Families
台中客運 Taichung Bus: No. 28, 54
仁友客運 Ren Yo Bus: No. 32
四方客運 SF E-bus: No. 68
捷順交通 J.S Bus: No. 199
豐榮客運 Green Transit Bus: No. 228
Bus stop: Tai An Elementary School (HuanZhong Road) 156
台中客運 Taichung Bus：No. 156