The historic heart of Taiwan will soon have more to offer than delicious food and rich cultural heritage. MVRDV just won a competition to transform a concrete eyesore in downtown Tainan city into Tainan Axis, a gorgeous green corridor and public space that will reconnect the city with its waterfront. Envisioned as a restoration to Tainan’s original landscape, the urban transformation will bring back a series of lagoons flanked with an artificial beach and mixed-use development.
MVRDV won the bid for the transformation of the Tainan Axis together with The Urbanist Collaborative and LLJ Architects. Located along Haian Road, the project will replace the deteriorated China-Town Mall that was built next to a canal in 1983. Though MVRDV will rip out the old building, the architects plan to use parts of the mall’s structure as the base for the new public square, leaving portions of the existing concrete columns exposed as a nod to the site’s history.
“This flooded old mall is going to be a poetic lagoon and a hip urban pool: a symbolic act,” says MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas. The former underground parking beneath the mall will be split into two areas, bisected by a bridge, and then flooded with water to form the lagoons. The lagoons will be flanked by undulating green promenade with landscaped areas, playgrounds, beaches, pavilions, and viewing towers. The new park will also serve as an economic catalyst with the addition of small commercial units such as souvenir kiosks, a teahouse, and a gallery.
At night, in keeping with Taiwan’s famous night market culture, traffic around the Tainan Axis will close to allow for pedestrians and businesses to take over. The new green landscape, which comprises native planting, and the water will help reduce the heat island effect. The lagoons will use recycled water. Infrastructure, from the entrance buildings and ventilation systems to the kiosks and viewing towers, will be disguised as colorful sculptural lanterns that punctuate the site.
Images via MVRDV