Letter from Taiwan: we report on the island's latest architecture projects
Construction is booming on the island of Taiwan. A number of recent, high profile competitions in the region have led to several major commissions that involve work by a wealth of well-known international architects. The result? A wave of new, architecturally inspiring public and private buildings are starting to take shape across the island.
Infrastructure projects (such as port terminals) are key to the island's development, but many of the most prominent building sites dotting Taiwan are for cultural or leisure schemes. Among them is the much-awaited Taipei Performing Arts Centre by OMA - which scooped a Wallpaper* Design Award this year for Best Building Site - and the innovative Taichung Metropolitan Opera House by 2013 Pritzker Prize winning Japanese architect Toyo Ito (also, the winner of our Best Building Site award in 2014).
Local housing is also getting a boost, with international names, like the dynamic Danish practice BIG and US architecture heavyweight Richard Meier, contributing with concepts designed to balance the East Asian island's distinct local qualities - such as its traditional architecture, tropical and subtropical climatic conditions and natural landscape - with a contemporary approach and the growing Taiwanese cities' urban character.
Meanwhile Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto is set to provide the island with a shiny new landmark; Taiwan Tower's steel body will include a striking 300m-high floating garden and an observation deck, inviting locals and visitors to explore the urban landscape beyond.