Students from Tamkang University won a special mention at the 4th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) with a collective design called “Spatial Limbo,” the Tamsui (淡水), Taipei County-based university said yesterday.
“Spatial Limbo” — designed by six postgraduate and undergraduate students from Tamkang University’s Department of Architecture — won a Special Mention Award at the Parallel Cases exhibition for offering an inventive and creative approach to the event’s theme: “Open City: Designing Coexistence.”
The special mention was the first time that a student group from Taiwan has been honored at the prestigious event.
The Parallel Cases exhibition, which displayed 44 entries chosen from 280 works submitted by universities around the world, allowed teams to imagine how architectural and urban development projects could contribute to social cohesion in future cities.
“Spatial Limbo” uses words, drawings, photos and models to describe four peripheral urban areas in Taiwan that have not come to terms with urban development in the fast process of social change.
The four areas included a naval fuel plant, a commercial complex with beehive-like units, a cluster of shanty homes on the edge of a big city and a seaside residential hill.
“We didn’t want to let our design fall into a stereotyped framework that promotes the idea that old or defunct spaces must be renewed or rejuvenated,” said Chen Yung-yu (陳鏞宇), one of the six student designers. “The existence of peripheral spaces also serves as a medium to reflect the absurdities of cities.”
A design by another group of architecture students from Tamkang, called “Zhongxin,” also made it into the Parallel Cases exhibition.
“Zhongxin” is a park design based on a now defunct village for dependents of military personnel, more commonly known in Taiwan as juancun (眷村). The design turned space in Taipei City’s Beitou district into a juancun park.
The 4th IABR, being held in Rotterdam and Amsterdam, opened on Sept. 25 and is scheduled to run until Jan. 10.
Tamkang University and the Harvard Graduate School of Design were the only two schools to have two entries in the Parallel Cases exhibition, university officials said.
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