National Palace Museum unveils new branch’s design


TAIPEI–The National Palace Museum unveiled yesterday the final architectural design for its southern branch and the park in which the new facility will be located, after years of delay.

The project, with a budget of over NT$7.9 billion (US$268 million) and covering an area of around 70 hectares, is expected to be a new cultural and tourism attraction in the Chiayi area, museum officials said.

Two architecture firms chosen to design the museum and the overall landscaping were announced at a press conference that day.

Inspired by three different calligraphy strokes, architect Kris Yao of Taiwan designed the main structure, which consists of black and white curved buildings that meet and interlace at each end.

A white bridge running between the buildings will allow visitors to walk past the museum without entering, Yao said.

The curves in the design symbolize the three mainstream ancient civilizations of Asia — China, India and Persia, he said, adding that the interlacing also signifies the exchanges of the three cultures.

An advanced technique called “base isolation” will be used to protect the buildings from earthquake damage, Yao noted.

An area of about 37 hectares has been planned for four Asian gardens, including a Japanese one and another featuring orchids, an important crop in southern Taiwan, said Teng Hao, director of the landscaping project.

Approved in 1994 by the Executive Yuan, the project had to surmount various obstacles, such as contract annulments, until the museum commissioned the Construction and Planning Agency to invite public bidding for the construction in 2009.

Typhoon Morakot, which struck the southern part of Taiwan that same year, caused serious flooding at the construction site, dealing the long- delayed project another blow.

After more than two years of effort, however, the branch is now expected to open in 2015, said Chou Kung-shin, director of the museum.

“It will be a great place to learn about Asian cultures,” she added.