The Dutch architecture studio MVRDV will replace a flooded shopping center in the Taiwanese city of Tainan with a lagoon to create a “trendy urban swimming pool” and an artificial beach (+ slideshow).
The Rotterdam firm won a competition to transform the mall into a park and is working with local studios The Urbanist Collaborative and LLJ Architects on the project. Construction is expected to begin later this year.
The lagoon will stretch towards the city’s waterfront, opening up views that were once blocked by the China-Town Mall. Built in 1983, the mall had become partially derelict and flooded according to MVRDV.
The new waterway will be flanked by sand dunes and native plantations to create a green corridor in the city’s downtown core.
“This old inundated shopping center is going to be a poetic lagoon and a hip urban swimming pool: a symbolic act,” said MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas. “The connection with the waterfront will be completed with a green promenade and an artificial beach along the canal to celebrate the restored view of the sea and the removal of the shopping center that previously obscured it.”
“A large commercial structure of low architectural quality, it disconnected the city from its waterfront and quickly fell into decline, becoming like the rotten tooth of downtown Tainan,” he said.
The lagoon will be carved below street level, occupying what used to be the underground parking lot of the shopping center. The remains of its concrete structure, including the square section columns, will protrude above the water’s surface.
Playgrounds and rows of shops will be set up along the water on the lower level, while a steel bridge will connect two walkways at street level. The perpendicular Haian Road will also be converted into a park.
Glass-covered elevators connecting the park to street level will also serve as observation towers. These structures will be illuminated at night to give the appearance of giant lanterns.
New transportation routes will be created to free the area from heavy traffic and surrounding roads will be pedestrianized at night, allowing cafes to spill into the streets.
Construction is expected to start in the fall of 2016.
MVRDV was selected earlier this year to transform the 938-meter-long Seoul Station Viaduct into a public park that could become South Korea’s answer to New York’s High Line.
The firm was founded in 1993 by Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries. His recently completed projects include a flower-shaped office building near Shanghai Hongqiao Airport and he also unveiled plans for a green complex in Amsterdam.
In an interview with Dezeen, Serpentine director Julia Peyton-Jones called MVRDV’s 2004 proposal to lock up the London gallery in a mountain-shaped pavilion as a “heroic failure”.
Architects: MVRDV, The Urbanist Collaborative, LLJ Architects
Sustainable development and landscape consultant: Progressive Environmental Inc
Structural engineers: Urban Sculptor Planning & Designing Consultants
Transportation planners: THI Consultants Inc
MEP engineers: Chants