Wednesday, July 15, 2009

2009 TTF Report Extra: The Venue

For me, one of the most interesting stories of the 2009 TTF was one that hasn't received much coverage on the Net: the venue. For its first 5 years, the TTF was held in a mall, which was nice enough (and a very interesting building in its own right).

But the show grew too big for the limited space offered by the Living Mall, so this year it moved to the Huashan Culture Park, which was the site of last year's after-party.

The Park is on the grounds of a former state owned factory. Some folks will tell you it used to make beer. Others say sugar. In any case, the sprawling grounds were left derilect for many years. Most cities would have bulldozed it years ago to make space for valuable commercial, residential or public buildings. Fortunately, the complex was left alone, and (thank the maker!) a smart person somewhere along the line suggested converting it into an art space.

Taipei has desperately needed something like this for a long time. We have plenty of museums, parks, and what not, along with new sports complexes and a convention center. But art events have been scattered all over, wherever space could be found.

Now, a renovation process is underway to tranform the derelict buildings into galleries, exhibition halls, theaters, etc. But the organizers also seem intent on preserving the charm of the original structures and overall layout of the grounds. To my mind, that seals the deal. I don't think there's a complex anywhere in the city that can challenge the character and charm of the Huashan Culture Park. I hope everything goes smoothly and we'll see tons of events at the site over the years.

Here's a map showing the layout and plans for how the buildings will be used. (At this point, they're 90% empty and are still being renovated.)
A walled off area. Love the walkway and overhead structures!
A sense of the spaciousness of the complex:
Nice open area with wood flooring that was recently put in:
Team working on one of the buildings:
The Earth has started to reclaim this structure:
There's a bunch of graf on the site:

Behind the complex is a massive open area, with a huge lawn, some public art, and even lily ponds. I HOPE this is all left untouched and nobody decides to come along and "design" the space. Parks and open spaces in Taipei tend to be over designed with a heavy hand, with a lot of concrete, weird walls, and unnecessary slopes and other "design elements" thrown in which, frankly, throw off users of the space by making it less accessible and enjoyable. So leave it alone, I say!

Little Spanky dude providing an assist:
Check out these super cool tracks, which I guess were used to transport freight from one part of the complex to another:
Some folks enjoying the day:
Here's the first permanent store added to the Park - an art gallery/store:
On the last day of the TTF, an outdoor concert was held on the grounds:
There's also an Alleycats pizza right next to the hall where the TTF was held. After a day of art, music, and culture, it's awesome to sit down and enjoy a nice stone-oven baked pizza and cold Hoegarden on draft.

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