Steven Holl Architects’ schematic design for the Taiwan ChinPaoSan Necropolis has been approved. The scheme, planned for an oceanfront property just 40 minutes from Taipei, will provide a new arrival hall to serve the complex’s 10,000 existing burial sites and an oceanic pavilion for an additional 150,000 ashbox sites.
More than 30 schemes were considered, however Holl’s watercolor explorations lead to the approved idea of intersecting spheres which, as the practice described, “yielded amazing overlapping perspectives that created an astonishing spatial energy.”
More about the 54,000 square meter Necropolis of ChinPaoSan, after the break.
“The geometry of intersected spheres refers back to a rich ancient history of symbolism,” described Holl. “Borromean Rings appeared in Buddhist Art, Viking rune-stones and Roman mosaics thousands of years ago. Christians have also used this symbol to portray or represent the unity of the Holy Trinity. Borromean Rings also represent the karmic laws of the universe and the interconnectedness of life. In the I Ching, the earth is represented as a square and the heavens as a circle.”
Pulling the ocean horizon into the composition, intersecting spheres will be embedded into a rectangular plan shrouded by a thin sheet of water. Beyond aesthetics, this reflecting pool of water will contribute to the design’s overall sustainable agenda; 60 percent of the complex’s electricity will be provided by underwater photovoltaic cells, while the water’s ability to cool will increase photovoltaic efficiency by 20 percent.
Geothermal heating and cooling, as well as wind power, rain water collection, passive cooling strategies and a displacement ventilation system will also be employed in an effort to obtain LEED Platinum certification upon completion in 2018.
In total, the arrival hall will include a 21-room hotel, restaurant, ceremonial chapel, auditorium and two small museums. The pavilion will accommodate up to 1000 people, alongside 50 presiding Buddhist monks for conducting ceremonies. Both, the pavilion and arrival hall, will adjoin a 5,000-seat amphitheater.
The arrival building, will take the shape of the allotted plot extruded into four levels with spherical subtractions. Openings in the intersecting spheres will bring natural light into the build’s interior. Urn shelving, which occupies most of the building’s section, will be arranged in different typologies: radial, circular, and orthogonal.
Construction of the Oceanic Pavilion will be in white concrete with black granite floors. Hinoki wood will be used for doors and partitions. Ceremonial areas will be treated in translucent alabaster and gold-leaf.
LocationTaipei City, Taiwan (ROC)
Design TeamSteven Holl (design architect), Roberto Bannura (project director), Noah Yaffe (partner), Michael Rusch (associate), Xi Chen(project architect), Yu-Ju Lin (project architect), Yun Shi (project team), Bell Ying Yi Cai (project team), Zach Cohen (project team), Wenying Sun (project team), Yan Zhang (project team), Arseni Timofejev (project team), Qiyue Hu (project team), Shenpei Ha (project team), Justin Bouttell (project team)
Local ArchitectChou Chienping Architects
Local EngineerTH TSAI and Associates
Structural EngineerGuy Nordenson and Associates
Mechanical EngineerHeng Kai Engineering Consultants Inc.
PhotographsCourtesy of Steven Holl Architects