Jiao-xi Presbyterian Church
Jiao-xi Presbyterian Church is situated in the vernacular contexts of low-density suburb in the north of Taiwan, where is humid and rainy in winter, hot in summer. Next to a governmental office and a small park, the church was rebuilt to serve both religious and local community.
The design strategy is to redefine church as a vehicle to experience spirituality with domestic conditions and everyday lives. To reflect the hot and humid weather and the 1.5-meter height difference on the long side of site, the main hall seats above the small semi-outdoor plaza on the first floor. The brick boxes at the four corners of the plaza are designed as multi-functional spaces for the community and as the main structure to support the elevated hall. Underneath the hall are open space and corridors such as urban streets and alleys connecting to its surrounding areas, pathways, and green belts. It encourages various community activities and social interactions for residents and church members in any weather conditions. Religious space accommodates daily lives and public encounters at urban scale.
By contrast, the lifted volume of main hall on the second floor is designed as a double-layered structure. The space in-between the inner timber structure and outer curtain wall creates an intermediated buffer zone that circulates and exchanges flows of energy (air, heat, light…) and social activities (resting, chatting, sharing...). The egg-like nave is made by glued laminated timber to introduce natural light coming through the continuous waffled skin. It recalls the transcending experiences of worshiping and praying in a forest or wild land. The exterior structure is light-weight steel framework commonly seen in Taiwan with glass curtain walls, visually reflecting its changing surroundings through time. The design echoes the Christian spirit of what Scripture says "the temple of God is built high.” At night it looks like a lightened torch enlightening the entire neighborhood, as if the glory of God filled the temple.
“My vision about this church,” said architect Liao Weili from Amphibian Studio, "is no loner a traditional church. It is more like a community center, and a convenience store for the soul. All kinds of local or religious activities can take place here. … A church is like a settlement, a city, and a universe for people.” There are a variety of spatial metaphors or representations but the core design intention behind the open form and spatial continuity is to enrich social and environmental connectivity.
In contrast with the dichotomy of the sacred and the secular in western churches or cathedrals, Jiao-xi Presbyterian Church is more ambiguous and dialectical between the two. The embodiment of spirituality in this church is the collection of casual meetings, glimpse on community lives, and senses on the changes of light and shadows. With architect’s childhood memory playing around in the front yard of a local temple, the design concentrates rather on transforming everyday serendipity into serenity, than on transcendent sensations and projection of sacredness.
1997–1999Master of Architecture, SCI-ARC, USA
1989–1990Master of Architecture, Tunghai University, Taiwan
1991–nowLeader of AMBi‧Studio
2015International Faith and Form Religious Art and Architecture Awards: The Light of Christ's Salvation Church
2012Perspective Awards, Certificate of Excellence: The Light of Christ's Salvation Church
20162015 IAI Design Institute of the Year
2016 2015 IAI Best Design Awards: Sky Bridge
2012015 IAI Architectural Design Award: The Light of Christ's Salvation
2004SD Review Award (Tokyo, Osaka): Wong-Gong Footbridge
2002SD Review Award (Tokyo, Osaka): Mt. Tung-Yen Public Toilet
2001SD Review Award (Tokyo, Osaka): Footbridge of NCTU
2016WA Jury Special Award: Yu-Hsiu Museum of Art
2016WA City Contribution Award: Green link of Old Sugar Railroad
2016Taiwan Prize First Prize: Yu-Hsiu Museum of Art
2009Taiwan Award in Architecture, First Prize: Labor Center and the croquet field of Yunlin County
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