Norihiko Dan and Associates create impressive tourism bureau on Sun Moon Lake
This is one of the projects from an international competition held in Taiwan in 2003 for four representative sightseeing locations in Taiwan called the Landform Series. It is a project for an environment management bureau that houses a visitor centre in the Sun Moon Lake Hsiangshan area.
The site just touches the narrow inlet extending almost south-north at its northern tip, has a narrow opening facing the lake-view direction, and extends relatively deep inland along a road. Looking towards the lake, the lake surface looks like it is cutout in a V shape as mountain slopes close in from both sides. Thus, although the site is for the Sun Moon Lake Scenery management bureau, it doesn't have a 180° view of Sun Moon Lake as can be enjoyed from the windows and terraces of the hotels standing on a typically popular site.
In most cases with sites like this, the building is positioned on the lake side to secure the greatest view possible, and thus the inland side tends to become a kind of dead space. As the basic policy for the design, Norihiko Dan and Associates first aim was to propose a new model for a relationship between the building and its natural environment while preserving the surrounding scenery and keeping the inland area from becoming dead space.
The second second priority was to address the disadvantages of the site whose view of the Sun Moon Lake is not necessarily perfect, and to draw out and amplify the potential advantages. In this project, in order to emphasize a sense of horizontality to the architecture, the architects added more soil taken from construction for the foundation to the volume of the building conventionally required, and designed a composition in which the building on the lake side and a sloping mound on the inland side are in gradual and continuous transition. By adopting this composition they planned the design so that continuity is regained between the building and the landform to form an integrated garden rather than having the building sever the landform.
The two surfaces-the union of the lake and water basin surfaces, and the resonance of the building's greenery on the upper part with the surrounding undulating sea of trees-are connected via the tunnel-shaped diagonal path that cuts and penetrates through the interior of the building, and through the slopes carved into the building like mountain paths, to create a multi tiered landform.
This half-architectural and half-landform project is conceptualized as a stage setting to bring out and amplify a hidden dimension of the scenery and environment of Sun Moon Lake, and at the same time creates a new dialogue between the human being and nature that provides another new dimension to this area.