LIBRARY AND MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS IN TAICHUNG, TAIWAN
This building refers in its architectural shape to the symbolism of the tree, at the hearth of the Taiwanese culture. Taiwan is characterised by two principal ethnic groups: the Han Chinese and the Taiwanese abori¬gines, the oldest habitants of the island.
The Han Chinese consider the tree as the filiation. The branches form and prolong the family while the roots give the family its strength. In the Han culture the tree is also the metaphor of the family house. The Taiwanese aborigines consider the tree as God. They respect the trees and believe that each of them has a soul. The function of the trees is spiritual as well as material. A tree aged of 800 years cannot be cut as it is considered as a « Saint Tree » (in Chinese: Pingying : Shen Mu). Accordingly, wood is the preferred row material of aborigines’ art. Here we mix matter and meaning in a shared place.
Within this architecture, contemporary Taiwanese society is in equili¬brium with its environment, mastering its culture and opening to the glo¬balisation of the urban life. Harnessing its essential environments should be other than the human control of the nature. It is time for the urban and the garden to stop composing in opposition, as they both belong to the same space, although to different times. Green nature and urban nature are two aspects of the everyday itineraries that need to be organised in the same space, not as a wild and whole nature, but from now on as arti¬culation between human culture and urban nature.
Harnessing the urban environment means foreseeing what overtakes our society and modelling the ground to support and protect our ambi¬tions. Here the ground coming from the park and the town constitutes the common access to two different temporalities of a unique urban na¬ture, the interior of the park and the interior of the town. The form that ac¬companies the contrast between the park and the street is for the man to contemplate its contemporary condition, since all the surrounding riches are already present, as a result of the historical fabrications of the society. It is necessary to prolong the existing equilibrium, to show to the habi¬tants that they rush forward the same existential condition, necessary to the people: the individual responsibility of a collective equilibrium.
Here the contemplation of urban riches associates with the thread of the building and its form. What progressively emerges from the green ground builds the town. The separation between the landscape of the park and the town’s constructions dissolves. Entering the park is not forgetting the town anymore, but perceiving it differently, as a richness. There is a common ascent of the constructions and the soil, so that the heights of the town and the park would never be blind universes.
The image of this new cultural centre of Taichung encompasses the spi¬rit of Taiwan. The library and the fine art museum are by now the con¬temporary temple, the sacred place of contemplation showing the world as it appears today. The notion of faith of the religious temple remains in the cultural centre, as both perpetuate the notion of exchange so pre¬cious to the urban life.
If we combine the Chinese symbol of “foundation” (in Chinese) with that of “tree” (in Chinese) we obtain the symbol of “book” (in Chinese).
FLORIAN JULIEN ARCHITECT
TEAM > JESUS TORRES GARCIA • ARCHITECTS
JESUS TORRES GARCÍA • ARCHITECT
FLORIAN JULIEN • ARCHITECT
MARTIN LUETHY • ARCHITECT