Museum UDN, Taipei
The headquarters of United Daily News will be torn down end of 2014 to make place for a new housing and office complex. The project is the design of a museum/experience center celebrating the 60 year history of one of the most established newspapers in Taiwan. It will be operating for only one year in the to-be-demolished 20 year-old office building. The new 3500 m2 program space could be inserted anywhere within the existing 12 floors, built with a very low 215 cm ceiling height. The 20x30m office spaces were without daylight in most parts of the floor.
The spatial concept of the design was to take out every second bay of the top four floor-plates to generate a vertical openness simu- lating a ‘valley between cliffs’ situation with sunlight shining from above. Every four of the remaining 20 meter long beams were then walled up to create 9 20-meter long cells.
The free-floating spaces have a pastoral openness in, around and out of the cells. Vegetation sprouts on their roofs, a waterfall flows from the sky down to the lower entrance level, bamboo forests grow in the valley.
The cells are cladded with used newspaper printing aluminum plates found on site in abundance. The facades are to be read, liter- ally. The intimacy of the news etched onto the aluminum sheets creates an immediacy which transcends the functional and symbolic expression of the facades. The UDN newspaper that functioned as a facade of its time now serves as a facade for its own museum. The content was a facade; now the facade is the content.
Newspapers in Taiwan have long had a secondary value — often being used to wrap food and groceries. It was a pervasive image of private life — to read a newspaper with one hand while holding asian fast-food wrapped in newspaper in the other. The interior facades in this project bring a sense of intimacy into this previously indifferent office public space — an act of the appropriation of residual value.