Fri, Apr 20, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Taipei authorities plan reconstruction of Chiang's chateau

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The former residence of dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), the Grass Mountain Chateau, will be restored according to its original design within two years, at a cost of more than NT$30 million (US$900,000), the Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs said yesterday.

Some of the fire-damaged debris from the chateau, which was partially burned down in a blaze on April 7, will be kept for future display. A documentary will chronicle the destruction and restoration of the monument, the department said after its first inspection of the site with cultural and historical academics and architects yesterday.

The department formed an team of experts to inspect the damage and discuss detailed plans in an effort to restore the 87-year-old municipal monument after the fire burned down the main exhibition hall and destroyed its exhibits.

Lee Chung-yao (李重耀), an 83-year-old architect who reconstructed the chateau in 1949 and 2000, said he was confident the building could be restored using special construction techniques and following a blueprint of the original construction.

"There should be no problem restoring the chateau after its original design. Obtaining the materials, such as the woods and tiles, is the issue," he said yesterday after the inspection.

The tiles of the chateau were made in Japan and Chinese cypress was used for the wooden structure. Purchasing cypress in Taiwan would cost the city government three times as much as importing it, he said.

Tsai Der-shih (蔡得時), an architecture professor at China University of Technology, said a fire protection system and earthquake resistant design would be incorporated into the chateau.

Department director Lee Yong-ping (李永萍) said that the department would also make a documentary that would chronicle the restoration process and call on future generations to appreciate the nation's historical monuments.

The chateau was built in 1920 as a vacation home for Japanese Prince Hirohito and later became a summer retreat and the first of 27 residences in Taiwan for Chiang.

The Taipei City Government took over administration of the chateau after Chiang died in 1975 and registered it as a historical monument.

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