Intensive Workshop Tainan, Taiwan

Architectural Association Graduate School Housing & Urbanism Programme,
National Cheng-Kung University Departments of Architecture and of Urban Planning,
National Chiao-Tung University Graduate Institute of Architecture,

with the collaboration and support of Tainan City Government.

This intensive workshop in Tainan, Taiwan, was hosted by the City Government and the National Cheng-Kung University.  A group of five teachers and twenty students from the AA Housing & Urbanism programme joined students and teachers in the NCKU in Tainan. We organised the workshop into three groups, mixing students and teachers from all the institutions.  After two days of talks and visits which introduced the regional and city scales of the changing dynamic in Tainan, and the specifics of the central urban condition of the project to bury the railway tracks, each group was then autonomous in developing its approach over the following seven days. Each group presented its argument and proposals to an academic review in the university, and then to a public debate with the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, City Government officials and many of the other stakeholders in the re-development of this central part of Tainan.

The work of the three groups aims to open-up questions and to explore possible approaches to the future urban development of Tainan.  It is not design at the level you would find in specific architectural projects; and it is not plan making as you would find in the work of urban planners  dealing with traffic engineering, land use definitions, plot sizes, floor area ratios and other technical constraints.  This short exercise expects the student groups to propose strategies for generating a more productive urban condition in Tainan.  Each group proposes a plan, in the sense of a spatial strategy, that aims to make the best of the opportunity that confronts Tainan to reposition itself in the context of southern Taiwan and of the country as a whole, and to be a leader in the next steps of developing a knowledge-based economy. A focus of the study was the central area of Tainan where the existing railway will be buried, creating a large area of new land in the city.  How can this land be best developed to maximize the opportunity for Tainan in the rapidly changing context of Taiwan’s urban development?