LA-based Platform for Architecture + Research (PAR) have shared their latest competition entries with WAN. The team’s ambitious and expressive style has led to some powerful designs such as M House and Cagliari Galerie Comunale D’Art. Working with Buro Happold and Luxigon, PAR entered the Taichung Cultural Center competition this year with a 62,000 sq m concept conceived as a ‘continuous cultural twist’, blending museum exhibitions with a public library. The competition was won by SANAA.
PAR also worked with SES, RLA and Buro Happold on a competition entry for the Keelung Harbor Gateway Project for which the team received an honourable mention. The scheme included the design of a cruise terminal and 70m office tower with large volumes of open space. The project was won by Neil M. Denari Architects.
Project descriptions of both competition entries from the architects read as such:
Taichung Cultural Center
The new Taichung Cultural Center (TCC) located within the Taichung Gateway District will house two regional agencies the public library and fine arts museum within one single institution. Our proposal arranges the new cultural center around a public space open towards the city of Taichung and Gateway Park.
The building is conceived as a single loop of public space and cultural institutions twisting into a continuous organization that combines the virtues of both institutions, maximizing interdisciplinary exchange while preserving the autonomy.
TCC is conceived as a symbiosis of urbanity and nature. Like Taichung, which is located in the heart of the Taiwan mainland, it will be integrated into the heart of the park. The two institutions and their shared public facilities are gathered around an outdoor space framing a fourth program, an urban plaza which opens towards both Park Avenue 2 and Gateway Park. The multiple ramps and stairs of the building create an institution that is publicly accessible and welcoming on the inside as well as the outside.
The urban plaza will attract the everyday life of Taichung flowing through its gateway while framing views of Taiwan Tower. Informal roof seating and stairs will make the TCC a lively place and a natural extension of the life within the park. On special occasions it will turn into an outdoor gallery or urban stage to extend the art into the city as well as the city into the institution.
The main entrance to the new Taichung Cultural Center lies to the northwest adjacent to an auto drop off along Park Avenue 2. Visitors enter through a shared lobby underneath the building’s 6m lift which leads to the public plaza. The south wing of the building tilts into the park landscape for continuous pedestrian access over top of the building from Gateway Park and Taiwan Tower.
The site is located at the very end of Keelung’s harbor master plan, where the mountain meets the sea. Keelung is a gateway that through its history, climate and the customs of its inhabitants, is predestined to make use of its exterior space. For this reason, we decided instead of planning the building as an independent object within an open space, we would propose buildings that will generate and structure this open space.
The design frames the harbor and the water beyond with an asymmetrical tower defining the northern perimeter of the facility, connected to the terminal by plazas at the ground and concourse levels. The project form, together with the lighting, aims to provide a dramatic entry experience to Taiwan from both the sea and the city of Keelung.
The new harbor project is only one piece in a larger green network that links public open space with waterfront amenities throughout the city. The design of the Keelung Harbor Terminal interposes this by providing continuous open space at the water’s edge.
Terminal Halls emerge like prisms through the building’s green roof generating a condition that is both building and landscape. In this way, new urban development and public spaces can grow without displacing natural recreational land. By maintaining this continuity of the network, the waterfront and the port terminal development will be within easy reach of many residents in the central city.
The structure of the buildings rub against each other like continental shelves making it possible for the complex of public, transit and industrial activities to coexist. This is one architectural element: a permeable, open architecture of maximum efficiency encompassing the tower, terminal and cargo storage.