Urban expansion and development is occurring at lightning speed in Taiwan, and the Taichung Gateway Park master plan is a perfect example. The 620-acre site is being reclaimed from a former airport, a decommissioned air force base, and privately held agricultural land that has been cleared for development. Three diverse districts (“the college town,” “the cultural district,” and a primarily residential area known as “the canal district”) will emerge on the site, knit together by a sinuous, 170-acre public park.
In plan, the park features scalloped edges, which increase the possible surface area for adjacent buildings. The architects are calling for the restoration and extension of a hydrological network that will help subdivide the enormous park into manageable parcels that complement adjacent neighborhoods.
The plan calls for a layer of primary and secondary roads that will make the park easily traversable; connect anchor buildings, playing fields, an ecological reserve, and other program elements; and encourage connections with the surrounding new developments. Juror Sarah Herda was impressed with the project's foresight to address problems such as infrastructure several phases down the line. “I think this project is setting up the conditions [for future community development]. That is really important,” she said.
Each of the surrounding districts will have its own character: The canal district will be characterized by quiet single-family homes, low-density apartments and condominiums, and light commercial uses. The cultural district will be much higher in density, featuring more and taller apartments and condominiums on a grid of avenues; the plan and density are intended to engender a lively atmosphere conducive to art galleries and creative living. And to explore creative energy in a different context, the academic district will build on the proximity of Taichung's Feng Chia University. Mid-density zoning will accommodate student facilities and amenities.
By necessity, the project will be completed over several phases, beginning with the ecological aspects (water regeneration, reforestation, and the greening of pocket parks), then moving on to infrastructure (primary and secondary roads, bike trails and footpaths), and then finally into the urban program (anchor buildings, then the cultural, academic, and canal districts). The first stage is slated to commence in the fall, and the entire scheme may take decades to complete.
PROJECT: Taichung Gateway Park
LOCATION: Taichung, Taiwan, R.O.C.
ARCHITECT: Stan Allen Architect, Princeton, N.J.—Stan Allen (principal in charge, pictured); Carlos Arnaiz (associate partner and project designer); Benjamin Cadena, Marc McQuade, Rosalyne Shieh, Frank Mahan, Ryan Neiheiser (project team)
YEAR FOUNDED: 2004
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 6
ENGINEERS: Arup—Trent Lethco, Susan Lim (traffic)
CONSULTANTS: Arup—Trent Lethco, Susan Lim (planning); Scape—Kate Orff, Daniela Fernanda Serna Jimenez (landscape); Drangonpolis— Carol Wang, Christina Liao, Ritchie Huang, Jing-Yao Chang (local planning); David Tseng (architecture and urban design adviser to the City of Taichung)
CLIENT: City of Taichung
COST: $95 million (first stage)
SIZE: 620 acres