SANAA, it is. In attempts to separate itself from its sister cities, Taichung City has named SANAA, led by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, winners of an international competition that intends to unite a newly formed city. As of December 2010, Taichung city executed a mega-merger that increased its population from 1 million inhabitants to 2.5 million, encompassing the skyscraping towers of downtown Taichung to the agricultural mountainside villages of Taichung County. As a result, the local government envisioned a new urban space that would place art at its core, celebrating the regions' disparate cultures.
First Prize: SANAA / Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa
The competition brief sought to combine a public library and a fine arts museum into one compound. But, of course, this is not all. The cultural center must aid in creating a local identity, "a piece of art in itself," that represents the optimism and creativity of the locals, whilst attracting the attention of the international community. SANAA has managed to do just that.
The winning proposal is elegantly simple, successfully making an otherwise large compound seem light, as if it were to float away. In plan, the spaces resemble a child's playful agglomeration of blocks, creating voids and plazas that suggest a collection of buildings that are equally active from the inside and outside. Reading areas, exhibits and gardens are dispersed as if to make no hierarchical distinction between programs, a design strategy characteristic of SANAA's practice.
Second Prize: Jean-Loup Baldacci
Third prize: Eisenman Architects, PC / Peter Eisenman
Honorable Mention: MASS STUDIES / Minsuk Cho
Honorable Mention: Stucheli Architekten AG / Mathis Tinner
- Yu-Chien Ann, Taiwan
- Kurt Forster, Switzerland
- Yu-Tung Liu, Taiwan
- Joshua Jih Pan, Taiwan
- Yeng-Horng Perng, Taiwan
- Linda Pollak, USA
- Mitsuru Senda, Japan
References: Taichung City Government, Taipei Times, Taichung City Cultural Center