Launch Slideshow

Taipei Waterfront, Tapei, Taiwan

Asked to transform an infrastructure-laden stretch of Taipei's Danshui River into a civic amenity, Stan Allen Architect proposed a comprehensive redevelopment of the site, starting with its topography.

Taipei Waterfront, Tapei, Taiwan

Asked to transform an infrastructure-laden stretch of Taipei's Danshui River into a civic amenity, Stan Allen Architect proposed a comprehensive redevelopment of the site, starting with its topography.

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    In order to create a bustling urban waterfront, Stan Allen Architect looked at reshaping the site and its connection with the rest of downtown Taipei.

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    By adding more entry points, infrastructure, and activities-including athletic fields, restaurants, cultural centers, and nature parks-the architects created a master plan that promises to engage residents and visitors.

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    The waterfront zone is made up of four elements: circulation, landscape, boardwalks, and buildings. These different components are layered onto the site to create a dense urban waterfront that connects with the rest of the city.

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    The structures on the waterfront are as layered as the site itself. The mixed-use Aquaviary tower does not just put infrastructure, retail, an aquarium, an aviary, and an eco-hotel in the same place-it encourages visitors to interact with each of those spaces as they move though the building.

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    The Aquaviary tower, one of the mixed-use structures in the park, features an aquarium at its core, wrapped with a coil of retail and draped with an articulated curtain wall that serves as the perimeter of an aviary. The tower, which sits across a road from the main park, also interacts with the urban infrastructure by accommodating parking and linking with a pedestrian bridge to the waterfront.

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    The structures on the waterfront are as layered as the site itself. The mixed-use Aquaviary tower does not just put infrastructure, retail, an aquarium, an aviary, and an eco-hotel in the same place-it encourages visitors to interact with each of those spaces as they move though the building.

Site
A 3,000-foot stretch of riverfront in Taipei, Taiwan, with existing conditions such as a parking garage, a bridge approach, and a nearly 30-foot floodwall.

Program
A park that incorporates landscaping, pedestrian circulation, highway infrastructure, and public spaces and buildings such as an amphitheater, a sculpture park, and retail.

Solution
Cities around the globe suffer from languishing waterfronts. Asked to transform an infrastructure-laden stretch of Taipei's Danshui River into a civic amenity, Stan Allen Architect proposed a comprehensive redevelopment of the site, starting with its topography. The architects reshaped the coastline to negate sightline and site-access problems posed by existing floodwalls and to better accommodate the planned program, which includes a sequence of green spaces, a network of pathways and boardwalks that engages the adjacent urban area, and revenue-generating restaurants and retail. The project also incorporates cultural venues such as an environmental learning center, a sculpture park, and an observation tower. Retail and other uses mix in surprising ways, in part to create urban density.

"It takes a condition that a lot of cities face—how to access the waterfront—not with a totalizing strategy, but with a variety of different conditions," Georgeen Theodore said. "You can actually create both a barrier to flooding and an entrance for the public. The project is very strong in its use of infrastructure to increase public space."

"There's a research component that supports the argument for this intervention," Eric Höweler added. "I think that is a trend nowadays. We don't just start designing, we start by researching." That research included studying site conditions and looking at landforming references such as Australian mangrove trails and Icelandic avalanche barriers in order to determine how to replace the existing floodwall with a serpentine levee that greatly opened the site.

56th Annual P/A Awards

Project Credits
Project: Taipei Waterfront, Taipei, Taiwan
Client: Taipei City Government
Architect: Stan Allen Architect, Brooklyn, N.Y.—Stan Allen (principal in charge); Carlos Arnaiz (project designer); Marc McQuade, Rosalyne Shieh, Leo Henke, Giancarlo Valle (project team)