The Ministry of Culture called for a meaningful partnership with the Taipei City Government on Dec. 13 to work together in transforming Taipei through cultural development.
Since the 20th century, Taipei has been the nation's economic and political center where industrial and military bases have expanded horizontally while administrations, businesses, and museums have developed vertically. In today’s 21st century, cultural and creative strategies are essential for any city to tackle future challenges.
To reinforce Taipei's role as the cultural capital of Taiwan, Culture Minister Cheng Li-chiun has proposed "The Horizontal Corridor of Culture and Innovation (東西向文化創新廊帶)" and "The Vertical Corridor of Art and Museums (南北向藝術及博物館廊帶)" projects.
"The Horizontal Corridor of Culture and Innovation" plans to revitalize cultural venues and architectural heritage situated in the region around Beimen as well as those in the east end, including the Railway Division of Taiwan Governor-General's Bureau of Transportation, the Huashan 1914 Creative Park, the former Air Force Command Headquarters, and the Taipei Railway Workshop.
With Beimen as its starting point, "The Vertical Corridor of Art and Museums" will connect the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, the Taipei Performing Arts Center, and the Taiwan Traditional Theatre Center of the north with the National Taiwan Museum, the National Theater and Concert Hall, the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, and the National Museum of History of the city's south end to complete an art corridor.
These revitalization projects require not only the construction and restoration of physical venues, but also the formulation of comprehensive plans across many agencies. For example, the Ministry began restoring the Railway Division since 2014. Scheduled to open in 2020, it will join other museums of the north end to showcase the nation's culture by presenting Taiwanese railway history and the urban development of Taipei.
Another example is the transformation of the former Air Force Command Headquarters, which was unused for four years starting from 2012. The Ministry took over in 2016 after two years of coordination, launching a two-phase development plan to convert the site into the Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab (C-Lab), which opened earlier this year in August.
In the past four months, C-Lab has created several experimental projects to spur innovative creations, attracting enthusiastic participation of the public to engage in cultural and creative activities.
Moreover, the Ministry has signed an MOU with the Paris-based IRCAM (L'Ircam, Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique) this year to establish Asia’s first experimental sound lab at C-Lab. The Ministry has also been actively forging partnerships with European cultural institutions, such as 104 Centquatre in Paris, Waag Society in Amsterdam, and ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany to develop new transnational projects focusing on contemporary art, multimedia, and social innovation.
However, as the former Air Force Command Headquarters is still registered as a military base, the Ministry has proposed to the city government for temporary use of the entire site several times, but deliberation has yet to be conducted. The Ministry hopes to receive the city government's support in facilitating the process of opening the entire site to the public.
In addition, Minister Cheng has signed an MOU with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to transform the Taipei Railway Workshop into the National Railway Museum. Beginning last year, a ten-year restoration project was launched to gradually transform the site, section by section. The site has also opened its doors for the public to view the restoration process.
As the site of the workshop is categorized as industrial land, there will be many restraints regarding the use of the future museum. The Ministry hopes for the city government to change the site's designation into a cultural preservation area to give the museum more flexibility in the future.
Regarding the renovation project of the National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, which has been halted after being listed as a temporary historic monument by the city government's Department of Cultural Affairs this June, the Ministry has requested the city government to add this issue into the agenda of its cultural heritage review meeting to sort out the problem at hand.
The Ministry also hopes for the Taipei Performing Arts Center, which is currently under construction with support from the city government, to join "The Vertical Corridor of Art and Museums" upon completing construction.
The original press release can be found here.