Tue, Feb 04, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Take a glimpse into the government's living room

There are worse places to be a fly on the wall. The Executive Yuan's abode, completed in 1940 and known for its simple design, has been home to 12 premiers and is now open to the public every Friday

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The front of the Executive Yuan in 1973. The building in the foreground is the Huashan Primary School, which once housed the Government Information Office. The school was torn down in 1985.


The Executive Yuan, guarded by the military since 1957, turned a page on Jan. 1 when officers of the National Police Administration took over the job of protecting the facility and the complex was opened to the public for weekly visits.

On the first day it was open, about 4,000 people swarmed the complex to see the interior of the 63-year-old building.

The Executive Yuan was opened to the public in line with the Cultural Heritage Preservation Law (文化資產保護法), which stipulates that historic sites should be open to the pubic. The main three-story building was declared a national historic relic in 1998.

The building sits next to offices belonging to the Government Information Office (GIO) on the east, west and north sides.

Since the building became home to the offices of the Executive Yuan in 1957, 12 premiers have served their terms in there. They are: Chen Cheng (陳誠), Yen Chia-kan (嚴家淦), Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), Sun Yun-suan (孫運璿), Yu Kuo-hwa (俞國華), Lee Huan (李煥), Hao Po-tsun (郝柏村), Lien Chan (連戰), Vincent Siew (蕭萬長), Tang Fei (唐飛), Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) and Yu Shyi-kun.

Between 1945 and 1957, the building was the home to the Taiwan Provincial Government. During that time, six provincial governors served there. They are: Chen Yi (陳儀), Wei Tao-ming (魏道明), Chen Cheng (陳誠), Wu Guo-jen (吳國楨), Yu Hung-chun (俞鴻鈞) and Yen Chia-kan (嚴家淦).

In 1941, one year after the main building was completed, the Taipei City Government relocated to the premises. Two Japanese mayors served their terms there between 1941 and 1945.

Before 1940, the Taipei City Government was situated at a building belonging to the Huashan Primary School, which sat in front of the main building. The building was torn down in 1985 because of serious leakage and deterioration.


Construction of the main building started in 1937 and did not finish until 1940.

Although the facade of the building is neither grand nor embellished, it displays simplicity and symmetry.

According to Jung Ho-hsiung (莊和雄), director of the Cabinet's Seventh Department, the main building was designed by Inote Kaoru, an employee of the Japanese Administration's Office of (Public) Works.

"The building possesses 10 unique features," Jung said.

First, the architecture reflects the trend in the 1930s of functionalism, which was espoused by the Bauhaus School in Germany, he said.

The signature style of the Bauhaus modernist design integrates expressionist art with architecture and had an influence throughout the world.

While the exterior of the building has a combination of simple squares and horizontal lines, the interior is clearly divided in a hierarchy based on function.

A pair of square shaped columns at the entrance of the building was obviously influenced by the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Jung said.

Dubbed the pioneer of creating greatness through simplicity, Wright helped create the form of modern architecture. His principle of "organic architecture" sought to integrate structures with their natural environments.

While the lower half of all exterior walls is made of stone, the remainder is covered with light brown ceramic tiles.

"Light brown is considered the `national defense' color because it provides camouflage against air raids," Jung said.

Balconies were constructed on the east, south and west sides of the building. They help shield the structure from the sun and rain. They also serve as natural ventilators.

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