The architecture manifestation is the “horizontal flow” of folding skin and shifting strip windows that evoke ripples through the changing light and shadows. The water analogy is further reinforced by the use of round mosaics that are reminiscent of river pebbles. The same concept is carried through into the interior where light ribbons in the ceiling serve as circulation guides. Data and electrical conduits are integrated with the ribbons that traverse the various floors and areas, matching function to form.
The genesis of the design is the decision to directly confront the challenges and opportunities presented by the dynamic nature of digital media. Inspirations for the massing concept include the Mobius strip and Klein bottle, both of which explore solid and void, form and formless. The resulting fluid building shape, while can only be produced with the latest digital tools, is not an exercise in form. Rather it is the manifestation of interconnecting program elements and ever-changing spatial movement.
Furthermore, the project seeks to acknowledge the urban history of Taichung, which developed from the excavation of the irrigation waterways since its first settlement in the traditional interactive mode interactive mode in 18th century.
The building’s free-formed skin with its curved planes and organic tree trunk-shaped columns tested the limits of design and construction in Taiwan. Starting with the structural slanted columns and slab edges, then a series of zigzagging curtain wall sub-frames that approximates the final undulating surface, the skin’s design was conceived from the inside-out. Finally, a composite wall system with integrated EPS insulation that molds to the folding surfaces, which are then cladding with pearl-white round mosaic tiles of eight different sizes enabling the skin to achieve a monocoque appearance. Throughout the process, latest 3D design software and several on-site mock-ups were utilized.
In the interior, each floor’s spatial arrangement, color and furniture design takes its cue from the corresponding outside view – event, trunk, crown, the city skyline, and cloud. The result is clear differentiation of the various program areas while the building’s abundant glazing fosters an outside-in effect.
1F Designed as a space to feature the flow of information, the use of orange-red color symbolizes the energy of the crowd with the information desk as the focus.
2F Vertical wood arches and light pillar echo the tree trunks outside the windows.
3F The tree crowns are transformed into bookshelves and furniture for reading, creating an atmosphere of being in the treetop.
4F Taking its cue from the urban skyline, the bookshelves are staggered in height and feature brightly painted, lighting integrated display frames that evoke city lights through windows
5F The cloud-like curved white furniture echo the blue sky above and is enhanced by the natural light filtered through the round skylights.
Design team: Joshua J. Pan, Jason Chen, Chi-Ming Chang, Sheng-Tien Yeh, Shang-Ping Lin, Chien-Yuan Liang, Wen-Chi Wang, Chia-Jung Hsieh, Hsiao-Mei Shih, Yu-Ting Wu, Tien-Kai Yang, Shih-Fan Huang, Tien-Yi Pan, Chi-Hsuan Peng, Han-Shen Chen, Kuan-Ju Hou
Supervision: Chun-Long Liu, Cong-Sian Chen, Sung-Po Chen, Jen-Chieh Yi, Chun-Sheng Lee, Cyu-Jing Chen, Chi-Jen Liu, Hui-Chi Chen, Chung-Pig Yeh, Cheng-En Wang, Cheng-Chih Kao, Shang-Yi Tsai
Structural: Team Engineering Consulting Ltd. MEP: Sine & Associates M/ELEC, Consultants & Engineers Lighting: J. J. Pan & Partners, Architects & Planners
Architectural Façade System: Lead Dao Technology & Engineering Ltd.
Landscape: J. J. Pan & Partners, Architects & Planners
Interior: J. J. Pan & Partners Furniture: C. H. Wang, Architect
General Contractor: Kong Chou Construction Enterprise
Photograph: Vesper W.S. Hsieh, Kevin Wu, JJPan