Located in the center of the Nangang district of Taipei and bordered by two major roads & Nangang mountain the site posed a series of design challenges. The division of the site into two parts, zoning of the site as a park with limited coverage allowance and existing structures on the site warranted a bold gesture to ensure that those issues were addressed in an appropriate manner. The proposal comes in the form of a bold iconic architectural form which floats above the site, respecting the integrity of the park and existing structures. A public piazza is created in the sky adding valuable urban space to Taipei which encourages creativity while an architectural procession through the building form enhances the users experience in the Taipei Pop Music Center.
Disconnection The first challenge that the site presents is its division into two parts along its east-west axis by the Xinsheng road corridor on grade and an underground rail tunnel below, resulting in a quasi square shaped portion of the site to the north and a long and narrow portion to the south. This division along the surface and below grade makes it difficult to connect the two portions of the Site except from above.
The Park The current zoning of Taipei has the site zoned as a public park and a pedestrian and bicycle path is planned along the periphery of the narrow southern portion. A building project on this portion of the site though would make sense if the challenge of the narrowness can be resolved however in our opinion leaving this area as an uninterrupted park would add an important public space to the city and add to the program of the TPMC. On the other hand placing the building purely on the northern portion of the site would mean that it would be unable to connect with the park amicably if a bold gesture of connectivity is not made.
Structures The site also has on it structures that need to be respected and allowed to function without interruption. On the northern edge a telecom service building occupies a sizeable area requiring additional reserve land around it, while on the southern park side two underground train emergency exits and ventilation shafts need to be placed and allowed to function independently with clearances. Our initial response to the site’s challenges was to create a thick plane 12m above the site at the point where the northern and southern portion get divided by the Xinsheng corridor. The floating plane spans both sides of the site and allows continuity of the park below, connects the two sides of the site and also allows the service structures located on the site to function independently.
The Floating Piazza The roof of the plane is landscaped to create an urban piazza above the park. This increases the surface area of landscaping in the project compensating for any coverage that the building has on the site. The piazza also becomes the outdoor performance space floating above the city.
Public Program Sandwiched between the parks and the piazza, floating above the ground, is the building’s program of public spaces such as the exhibit, library, collections, restaurant and live houses. The plane is then cut and folded to connect it to Nangang road via a gentle slope to allow pedestrians and emergency/service vehicles easy access to the piazza. The plane is further folded lifting the building program of the live house higher and creating a C shaped sound absorbing shape to retain the noise from concerts on the piazza.
Architectural Procession The slopes that result out of the folding of the plane take on the form of travelators inside the building. These tavelators become part of an architectural procession that takes users from ground level to the public functions 12m above and then further up to the piazza level and finally vertically up to the live houses terminating in a panoramic vantage point on top of the folded plane overlooking Nangang mountain and the city beyond.
Program The negative spaces created from the folding of the planes are in-filled strategically with other parts of the building program. The shops are placed on the ground level allowing easy accessibility from Nangang and Xinsheng road. The Concert Hall/Auditorium is placed below the fold of the plane in proximity to a service yard. The restricted program of the offices and recording studios are in-filled within in the C shape of the fold of the plane expressing their independence from the public program band. These spaces overlook the performance piazza as if keeping a watchful eye, while the façade helps dampen the noise to protect neighboring developments from sound pollution.
Vertical Connections Twisted cylindrical structures made of glass and steel trusses are placed in between the park and the building program floating above to act as vertical connections. They not only act as the structural elements that hold the building up but also contain vertical circulation to connect people from the park to the building and the piazza while also doubling as means of egress. Their small footprint ensures minimal intrusion on the park.