De Architekten Cie. has won the open international Kaohsiung Port Station Urban Design competition in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The 15.42 hectare site is the derelict Port Station Railyards of the old port of Kaohsiung and is to be transformed into a vibrant, new urban district centred on a linear park which highlights the cultural and historical heritage of the site. The team, led by associates Jason Lee and Patrick Koschuch, worked in collaboration with Rosetta Elkin of RSE Landscape on the winning proposal.
Since a large portion of the site and existing railway buildings are designated as historical monuments, the central challenge of the brief was to strike a balance between the desire for cultural preservation/revitalisation, introducing new development onto the site, and establishing enough connections across the site to transform the area from an urban barrier into an urban connector.
Far from being a tabula rasa condition, the richness and variety of historical and cultural artifacts on the site mean that the urban design must sensitively respond to the various conditions. In Cie’s proposal, new mixed-use urban blocks, commercial areas, renovation/restoration of industrial buildings for artist studios and galleries, railyards, rail lines, and station buildings are interwoven with a new linear park whose central programme is an indoor/outdoor historical museum about the industrial history of the area and city. By combining the museological programme with the park, the proposal is able to meet the twin objectives of historical preservation/revitalisation, and environmental sustainability.
For the perspective of urbanism, the ambition of the proposal was not to raze the site and start fresh. Rather, it aims to sensitively extend the existing urban block morphology onto the site with appropriate programmatic mixes (from fully commercial to fully residential blocks) based on their adjacencies and individual conditions. Furthermore, the envelope and orientation of the building volume of each block is intended to minimise solar heat gain, maximise cross ventilation through the block, and provide excellent views for all the occupants.
Jason Lee and Patrick Koschuch explain: “With the myriad of cultural monuments, the complex adjacencies, and rich history of the site, we tried to envision a place which is both sensitive to the historical urban context and ambitious in terms of environmental sustainability and the transformation the existing urban morphology. We feel strongly that, as the economy of Taiwan, gradually transforms from its manufacturing and industrial past, to one based on cultural production and tourism, our proposal can make a significant contribution to the evolution of the city of Kaohsiung.”
Associates in charge - Jason Lee and Patrick Koschuch
Project team - Raul Forsoni, Nam Dong Ho, Blanca Fernandez, Kasia Cielibala, Dariusz Florcz
Landscape - Rosetta Elkin of RSE Landscape
Special Mention - Branimir Medic en Malone Chang+ Yu-lin Chen Architects