The Museum of Prehistory (Nanke Archaeological Museum) was built to house the 5,000 years old artifacts discovered by chance during the construction of the modern Science Park.
It was a competition project. KRIS YAO|ARTECH won the competition and provided the full service scope, including design, and site inspection service for this project. The design period was from 2010~2013, and the construction period from 2014~2017. The site of the museum is approx. 24,200㎡, and the building gross floor area is approx. 5,200㎡. It is a four story tall building with 1 basement level, housing the museum exhibition, research rooms, administration office, and collection storages, etc.
The geometry of the building follows two sets of axes. One points due north, cohering to the direction of ancient burials, and the other, is rotated 19° from the main axis, follows the present-day city grid. These two systems of orders dominate the building geometry from the floor plan all the way down to exhibition of artifacts, symbolizing the essence of the archeology work: a process of using the order at hand to speculate and discover about an unknown order of the past. The architectural concept uses three terms, probing down, regression, and interweaving, to explain the relationship between time and space in this exhibition.
The main building mass has a 70m x 70m square plan and 21m in height. The steel structured glass tube, which has an 8.7m x8.7m cross-section, and is 90m in total length, cutting the reinforced concrete structured main-building from middle, pointing to the nearby high-speed rail track direction. 5~7cm thick basalt stone panels, framed with C-channels are the main exterior cladding materials. Tinted grey glasses are used in the center tube (10+10pvb for wall, 12+as+8+8 low-e for skylight).
Pebble stone and compressed concrete paving units are the main paving materials for the outdoor plaza. A series of raised up planters, planted with silver grass, are built with local river cobble stones to bring association to an image of the pathways of the traditional rice fields of this land before it turned into the modern science park.
A series a tubular spaces are intentionally designed in this projects to create various transitional spatial experiences to narrate the story of “time, space, and history”, which is the essence of archeology study. Perforated aluminum panels are used as the main interior wall materials, from the entrance semi-outdoor “time corridor” to interior lobby, and elevator waiting zone, etc. Indirect lighting design is cooperated behind these panels to create the ambience, and patterns are laid to create a “code” like image in many section of the public zone. Although the main color palate of this project is composed of grey, silver, and black, a bright yellow color is picked as the theme color to highlight the key space and elements, such as the central courtyard, the installation of the lobby area, etc.
The museum site is also adjacent to the Taiwan High Speed Rail route, where a train passes by about an average of once every few minutes. Visitors are first taken through a square glass tube ascending to a viewing platform, where they can view this ultrafast, high-tech mode of transportation as well as the futuristic facilities of the science park. From this vantage point, visitors then work their way downward in a counterclockwise direction, embarking on an exploratory journey back through history, as if taking part in an archeological dig, personally experiencing through movement and senses the different civilizations that occupied this spot at different times in the past.
KRIS YAO | ARTECH is an Asia-based architectural firm comprised of more than 160 professionals with offices in Taipei and Shanghai. Kris Yao, Hon. FAIA, established the firm in Taipei in 1985. The firm is hailed as one of the best professional practices in Taiwan as well as the most internationally renowned Taiwanese firm. The firm’s projects are mainly located in the Greater China area, but are also found in the United States, Europe, Africa and Asia Pacific regions. The firm’s portfolio demonstrates years of practice in commercial, hospitality, cultural/educational, transportation, performing centers, residential, spiritual, and urban design.
KRIS YAO | ARTECH’s design philosophy strives to achieve excellence in design, by respecting and incorporating the needs of the clients and functionality, finding ways to employ innovative yet appropriate technologies to create architectural spaces that integrates a sense of scale and place, the cultural context, and spirituality.