Kris Yao | Artech - Han Pao-Teh Memorial Museum, a space of peace and serenity
  1. Home
  2. Award 2023
  3. Culture
  4. Han Pao-Teh Memorial Museum, a space of peace and serenity

Han Pao-Teh Memorial Museum, a space of peace and serenity

Kris Yao | Artech

Culture  /  Completed
Kris Yao | Artech

In recognition of Han Pao-Teh’s significant contributions to the arts, his family commissioned a memorial museum at the Tainan University of the Arts, an institution he founded. The purpose was to provide both educational and exhibition spaces for his works and collections. In the early stages, the team proposed to create several suspended boxes floating above the student activity space, symbolizing Han’s achievements in various fields. The design evolved to a simple column-free volume of architectural concrete, interpreting the concept of 'a cube within a cube'. The collision points of the two cubes exhibit multiple facets, much like the diverse range of knowledge that Han possesses. The resilience of architectural concrete can be seen as a metaphor for an indomitable spirit.

Taking advantage of the existing topography, the simple cube of the memorial museum is nestled into the slope, forming an open forecourt that serves as a welcoming gesture. At the entrance, a gradually ascending stairway positioned above the reflecting pool leads to the main exhibition space. Inside the serene enclosed cube, a generous window brings in light and hints at the visitors to continue their journey through a series of stairs in and out of the building, creating a dynamic relationship of the interior and the exterior. The landscape is framed by the openings of the stairs, reminiscent of scenery paintings hanging on the concrete wall. Beneath the cube, a glass-enclosed student activity space hosts various events, and maintains a harmonious relationship with the surroundings.

The column-free memorial museum employs thick architectural concrete bearing walls to achieve a minimalist and pure form, with the open concrete stairs and floating cube serving as sculptural elements that enrich the space. The reduction of decorations not only minimizes material waste during construction, but also highlights the beauty of craftsmanship. The 40cm thick walls also function as a thermal mass, helping to maintain cool interior spaces. The ground floor, enclosed with glass, has been recessed to mitigate direct sunlight. The narrow openings and skylights allow natural light to enter, while reducing heat gain in the hot and humid tropical climate.

It is worth noting that this project has been named a finalist in the 2023 Architizer A+Awards.

Emphasizing the spatial experience in this commemorative space, the building invites visitors to ascend a low-rise staircase above a reflecting pool and enter through a side entrance adjacent to the main cube. Within the impressive 13.5-meter-tall student exhibition space, an imposing cubic mass appears to defy gravity as it floats above the area. It houses Han Pao-Teh’s Permanent Exhibition, a two-story, auditorium-like space that juts diagonally from the larger cube. The rotated cube creates a fissure in the wall, through which light dramatically filters into the cavernous exhibition space, casting sharp shadows and imbuing the atmosphere with an air of theatricality. The interaction between the upper and lower spaces also symbolizes the mentorship and friendship of Han and his students.

A generously sized window offers visitors a view of the verdant outdoors, leading them to embark on a theatrical ascent via a staircase that traverses between the interior and exterior. The overhanging stairs outside the structure enable visitors to take in the landscape from a new perspective before proceeding into the permanent exhibition space. The journey culminates in a narrow, gorge-like pathway that concludes the upward climb and delivers visitors to the top level.

Natural light played an important role in the project. Slender skylights and wall openings create a stage for the interplay of light and shadow, transforming the simple and pure space into an intriguing light box.

“Mr. Yao created a space of peace and serenity. As we walk along the steps of life, we reflect and meditate from within, then outward, turning onto the suspended steps, and into the world of Han Pao-teh; a cube suspended within a cube. The exhibition is designed around the different periods of Han Pao-teh’s life, corresponding to his notable contributions.”


 690 mq
 Kris Yao
 Design: Albert Liu, Naiwen Cheng, Kai-Chih Chang, Megle Lin, Eden Sung, Yuan-Heng Shih; Construction Inspection: Jui-Hung Lin; Project Advisor Supervisor: Willy Yu, Jun-Ren Chou


KRIS YAO | ARTECH is an Asia-based architectural firm with offices in Taipei and Shanghai. Established in 1985 by Kris Yao (Hon. FAIA), the internationally renowned firm is one of the most influential professional practices in Asia. The firm’s portfolio demonstrates years of practice in cultural, corporate, commercial, hospitality, educational, transportation, performing arts centers, residential, and spiritual spaces, among others. The team’s philosophy strives to achieve excellence in design, finding ways to employ innovative yet appropriate technologies, in order to create poetic architectural spaces that integrate cultural significance and a sense of scale and belonging.


#Shortlisted #Taiwan  #Exhibition  #Kris Yao | Artech  #Tainan  #Memorial  #Architectural concrete  #Architectural concrete envelope 

© Maggioli SpA • THE PLAN • Via del Pratello 8 • 40122 Bologna, Italy • T +39 051 227634 • P. IVA 02066400405 • ISSN 2499-6602 • E-ISSN 2385-2054
ITC Avant Garde Gothic® is a trademark of Monotype ITC Inc. registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and which may be registered in certain other jurisdictions.