A gallery at foot of a mountain
Located at foot of Shou Mountain, Kaohsiung and have been facing change of situation between Mainland China and Taiwan from confrontation to dialogue, a military building, Kin-Ma Hotel, was built around 1960s and used for soldier to stay during vacation back from frontline, but it’s released by government today due to transformation of Kaohsiung from industrial to tourist city. So the client plans to transform Kin-Ma Hotel to a gallery, ALIEN Art Center and expect it could become an important cultural place in Kaohsiung City.
The old building is always with a story, and memory is connection to city
For us, preservation is not the best way to deal with the old building, but to run it with new urban function, because we think that’s the way to make it integrated with city system and can survive for a long time. However, layout of the military building is always symmetrical which gives a feeling of stable, but also conservative and closed that is very different from the environment of contemporary art space as known. And especially even it’s beside the mountain, but still with no intention to connect it. So basically both space is conflicting in essence, and it’s the main task for design. Considering about surroundings, we arrange public function like activity area, café, and lounge, at right-wing which is near to the mountain, and open wall at the backside to bring nature into.
Besides we also create a big green slope at backyard for indoor scenery which works as driving way for delivery of big art as well. And we put administration space at left-wing due to convenience of access from the main road. Then individual exhibition rooms are left at middle building but open back side for new circulation beside inner courtyard.
Moreover, Being able to survive continuously for a ling time, 1/3 of the total budget is used to reinforce structure condition which is essential for the old building and reserving frame, corridor, stairs, and basic material, etc.
Overall, what we want to do basically is to create a more open, free-flowing, and comfortable environment for the gallery, but still with original space sense. Let’s say the structure is old, the relationship is new, contents are diverse, and the feeling of space is contemporary!
To us, Life and culture can’t be separated, and culture is basically formed from life. Kin-Ma Hotel is public goods witnessing transformation of city, and Alien Art Center should not run as just a private gallery, but also a urban public space where welcome all citizen to come, talk, and enjoy which is also consistent with original purpose of client – to enhance cultural literacy of citizen and culture image of Kaohsiung city.