Monday, 4 February 2013

Wanhua Arts District, Taipei

The Wanhua district is Taipei's oldest neighborhood and it consists of temples, small parks and plenty of heritage architecture. There's constant redevelopment, new building that erases the historical past forever. A few years ago the city decided to implement a redevelopment program that would save a few blocks of original buildings and establish an arts district.

The project is a success on several levels. The area is beautiful, but doesn't feel like an historical theme park. Art galleries and related hip hangouts have moved in. The most impressive result is the delicate balance of restoring the old structures, but giving the builders enough freedom to augment and be creative with the required new construction as needed. Nifty.

A typical block, old brick and covered walk-through.

A look down the center of the redevelopment. A detail showing the melding of old brick and newer materials.

Art has moved in, livening up the area.

The clever combination of keeping the original buildings, some in ruin, and adding modern touches to both preserve and contrast.

Approved graffiti. Rural elements have been encouraged, providing a little respite in the middle of the city.

The layout of life, nicely depicted on a manhole cover. Fish below, trees above.

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