Architects: KRIS YAO | ARTECH
- Area: 18700 m²
- Year: 2018
Photographs:Yueh-Lun Tsai, Shawn Liu Studio, Chiao Ping
Manufacturers: AAI Aluminium, Jin Hua Chen, Sheng Fung Int.
- Architect In Charge: Kris Yao
- Inspection Architect: Kris Yao, Glen Lu
- Project Principal: Kuo-Chien Shen
- Design Team: Chien-Yi Wu, Winnie Wang, Kuo-Lung Lee, Rossalin Yang, Wen-Li Liu, Yi-Ting Cheng, Cormier Miguel, Alpha Chen
- Construction Inspection: Jun-Ren Chou, Yi-Seng Tsai, Gino Chi, Jun-Shun Wang, Sam Chuang, Michael Lin, Yi-Ming Chang
- Plumbing, Electrical & Fire Protection Consultant: Heng Kai Engineering Consultants Inc.
- Client: National Museum of Prehistory
- City: Tainan
- Country: Taiwan
Text description provided by the architects. Today’s vigorously developing Southern Taiwan Science Park was long ago inhabited by different prehistoric peoples. The Museum of Prehistory was built to house the rich troves of archeological treasures discovered by chance during the construction of the Science Park; and to preserve these precious artifacts dating as far back as 5,000 years. The museum’s overall architectural scheme is based on the idea of: going further back in time the farther down you go. The depth of your knowledge likewise increases as you proceed downward from today to over five millennia ago.
The museum site is adjacent to the Taiwan High Speed Rail route, where a train passes by about an average of once every few minutes. At such times, a train is shoulder-to-shoulder with this site for 3.5 fleeting seconds. Taking advantage of this unique relationship with the high speed rail, visitors are first taken through a square glass access way ascending to the same level as the passing trains, where they can view this ultrafast, high-tech mode of transportation as well as the futuristic facilities of the science park, showing them the modern and the future.
From this vantage point, visitors then work their way downward in a counterclockwise direction, embarking on an exploratory journey back through history, as if taking part in an archeological dig, personally experiencing through movement and senses the different civilizations that occupied this spot at different times in the past.
The building geometry follows two sets of axes. One points due north, cohering to the direction of ancient burials, is the order of the past. The other axis, rotating 19° from the main axis, follows the present-day city grid, is the order we have now on hand.
These two systems of orders dominate the building geometry from the building plan all the way down to exhibition of artifacts, symbolizing the essence of archeology work: a process of using the order at hand to speculate and discover about an unknown order of the past, and assigning intrigue and meaning to things from elsewhere in time and space.
The building’s external wall is covered mostly with rough surface basalt, and at nighttime the contrast of faint light filtering through them creates a mysterious, poetic contrast with the coarse texture of the stone.