Tainan Axis

The transformation of the T-axis aims to reconnect the city with nature and its waterfront by creating a lagoon on the site of the former China-Town Mall and a green corridor with public interventions along Haian Road. Construction started in the summer of 2017, and the former underground parking beneath the mall will form the basis for the new public space. 


Location: Tainan, Taiwan

Year: 2015+

Client: Tainan City Government

Programme: Transformation of 5.46 ha into public space

Budget: Undisclosed


Tainan’s natural lagoons and water network served as the city’s base for its marine and fishing industry up until the early 20th century. Land reclamation and a new urban plan devised under Japanese governance saw the city expand rapidly; construction of the New Tainan Canal and Tainan Ship Moorage moved the shipping and fishing industry further inland which saw a lively neighbourhood of auction and trade markets flourish around it. China-Town Mall was built next to the canal in 1983. A large commercial structure of little architectural quality, it disconnected the city from its waterfront and soon fell into decline, becoming like the rotten tooth of downtown Tainan.

The transformation of China-Town Mall and its perpendicular axis Haian Road, which together form the T-axis, aims to re-establish the waterfront connection and provide an important stimulus to the redevelopment of the neighbourhood by encouraging the use of public spaces and creating a cohesive urban language. Once dismantled, the exposed structure of China-Town Mall will form the base for the new public square, a lush, green lagoon with dunes and playgrounds flanked by small commercial units such as kiosks selling souvenirs, a tourist info point, a teahouse and a gallery.

MVRDV won the competition together with an interdisciplinary team of experts which included local firm The Urbanist Collaborative, local architects LLJ Architects, sustainability/landscape consultant Progressive Environmental Inc, structural engineers Urban Sculptor Planning & Designing Consultants, transport planners THI Consultants Inc and MEP engineers Songsing. 


Architect: MVRDV

Principal-in-charge: Winy Maas

Partner: Jeroen Zuidgeest

Design team: Hui-Hsin Liao with Ángel Sánchez Navarro and Stephan Boon

Copyright: MVRDV 2018 – (Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries)


Urban Planners: The Urbanists Collaborative, Taipei, Taiwan

Local Architect: LLJ Architects, Taipei, Taiwan

Landscape Designers: Progressive Environmental Inc., Taipei Taiwan

Structure Design: Urban Sculptor, Taipei, Taiwan

Traffic Engineers: THI Consultants Inc., Taipei, Taiwan

MEP: Songsing Engineering Consultants Inc., Taipei, Taiwan

Images: Aplus Digital Technology Co., Ltd

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