Taichung, Taiwan, R.O.C | 2013


With the design of the Taichung Art Museum and Library comes the challenge and the opportunity to reconceive the architecture of institutions committed to a cosmopolitan conception of literary and visual culture. A complex of museum and library must project a universalizing conception of architecture while at the same time acknowledging its situation culturally and physically in Taichung. A response to the local in this case would be neither to accede to the temptations of a commercial model: ‘museum/library as shopping’ nor to lifeless models of historicism in yet another stultifying extension of the corporate models of urban space.


This cultural nexus must deliver another message - create another space within it - to foster the primacy of a wider project. Beyond any clichés of bridging the presumed divide between the global and the local, A cosmopolitan art museum and contemporary library must literally engage and reinvent the way museum and library programs operate from within. It is our ambition to creatively rethink the limits of museum space and library program, to not immediately rush to circumscribe the galleries and library spaces as inviolable domains; but to create an architecture that environmentally and organizationally refigures the boundaries between display, study, research, and public space.


The prominent site of the Taichung Art Museum and Library at the very head of the Taichung Gateway Park suggests a new arts institution that will weave park and city, park and museum, and park and library into a coherent whole. Our proposal is not a conventional museum building but will be developed holistically as a series of architecturally distinct yet cohesive spaces. A sequence that work well both separately or as an ensemble. The Taichung Gateway district ultimately should not merely be understood as the co-extension of city and park but must create a new and distinct cosmopolitan space that is simultaneously both of, yet not only of, Taiwan.


The complex must orchestrate the necessary neutrality of spaces of exhibition and study with hyper specific zones that create a unique sense of place - spaces, therefore that will critically resonate with the unique historical and cultural context of Taichung. Architecture, precisely by being new, will fundamentally refigure the context and its history. Moreover this ‘cultural archipelago’ must be specific enough yet open enough to foster the unforeseen developments in culture and technology in the future. Therefore not museum/library as neutral scaffolding but a sequence of vibrant civic spaces that will promote experimentation in visual and literary culture.

Project Info

Finalist International Competition  |  Type: Culture Center | Structure: Multiple


Project Credits


Jesse Reiser + Nanako Umemoto


Design Team

Michael Overby, Neil Cook, Hilary Simon, Ryosuke Imaeda


Interns and Assistants

Xian Lai, Fan Wu


Architectural Consultant

Fei and Cheng Associates, Taipei, Taiwan


Structural Consultant

ARUP, 77 Water St, New York NY 10005 USA

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