Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Our Taiwan Trip: Architecture

First of all, Happy New Year everyone! During Christmas we took a 10-day trip to this tiny but densely-populated Pacific island called Taiwan. We landed in Taipei, capital city of Taiwan. The first impression was that the city in general is clean, but the air quality is far from crisp or clean. Smog and haze and exhaust fumes from motorcycles are just part of people's everyday life there.

Another thing I've noticed immediately while on our taxi ride from the airport to the hotel is that how boring the cityscape is. Most, though not all, buildings are old, grey, made of concrete and unattractive. You really can't expect to see the Asian equivalent of Prague here in Taiwan. There are some buildings with intriguing architectural details, especially those 1890s-1940s brick or ornate cement structures and old shophouses built during the Japanese Colonial era as well as several heritage temples.

What you can expect, architecture wise, is a completely eclectic style: a little bit of Gothic Revival, a hint of Baroque, and a lot of Asian harmony and symmetry.

Clockwise from top left:

  • The iconic skyscrapper Taipei 101: is 509-meter tall and comprises 101 floors.
  • Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall: Chiang is a former President of Taiwan.
  • Carved white marble spindles at the National Palace Museum.
  • Inside the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.
  • The Residence of Mackay at the Aletheia University in Tamsui.
  • The Residence of Mackay at the Aletheia University in Tamsui: this beautiful building is full of Southern European flavour.
  • The Residence of Mackay at the Aletheia University in Tamsui: love this all white corridor.
  • The intricate details of the ceiling, walls and columns inside the Office of the President.
  • The main tuned mass damper atop Taipei 101: this is the ball that helps the building withstand the typhoon winds and earthquake tremors by absorbing the vibrations.

The next up is probably your favourite subject -- the interior design in Taiwan. I will take you through a tour of a multi-million penthouse suite in the heart of Taipei and show you how rich and famous Taiwanese lives, uber-modern style.

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