This beautiful green-roofed visitors center at the Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan unfolds in a series of aerodynamic edges that rise and swoop, pointing toward the lake. Designed by Norihiko Dan and Associates, the Hsiangshan center features a minimalist, respectful design that pays homage to nature.
The building was the first prize winner of the NEW TAIWAN International Competition called the “Landform Series,” which challenged architects to design buildings integrating nature.
The visitor center, located amidst a lush forest hanging on the tip of Sun Moon Lake, includes the offices of the tourist board as well as a public information center for tourists. Like the foothills of a mountain, the building gently rises and slopes upwards from the surrounding area. Norihiko Dan wanted the building to be harmonious with its neighboring land forms rather than jutting out obtrusively, which would be offensive to the surrounding nature.
Through a subtle design that emphasizes horizontality the architecture does not become overbearing, and the rich forest is still highlighted. Norihiko Dan furthers this emphasis by planting thick green grass over much of the sloping roof, creating an integrated garden. The building’s aerodynamic edges rise and swoop, pointing toward Sun Moon Lake.
Norihiko Dan also created a water basin in between the building and Sun Moon Lake, that reflects the greenery of the trees. The architect hopes to create a “new dialogue between humanity and nature that provides another new dimension to this area.”