Passers-by reached hastily into their bags for their cellphones and cameras on Monday morning, as the painting crew from the Greater Tainan Government’s City Development Bureau rolled in to whitewash the “blueprint wall” — a well-known attraction on Haian Road for nearly a decade.
Blueprint techniques were used on the walls of half-demolished buildings to reimagine the interiors of the homes before the buildings were torn apart.
The city government had planned to expand Haian Road close to a decade ago, but the project ended in failure, resulting in a line of houses literally disemboweled as the road cut through its midst.
In 2004, Tu Chao-hsien (杜昭賢), along with renowned artist Liu Kuo-tsang (劉國滄) and several other people, spearheaded a project called “Haian Street — Art Made Road — to repurpose the rubble into an artistic attraction.
The length of the failed street had undergone five different stages of artistic creation, but the blueprint wall concept had received the widest public acclaim.
Tu said she was reluctant to see the blueprint wall go, but that she is maintaining her positive outlook.
“One has to gain a perspective on the matter: The owner of the land on which the house stood had put it on loan to the government for a decade without any demand for compensation,” Tu said, adding that the reasons for refusing to continue the contract were also sound.
Children’s safety was a major concern for the owner, Tu said.
There have been cases of children accidentally bumping their heads against the walls because of the 3D drawings that make it seems as if it was still a complete building, she said.
The city government had tried to negotiate, but the owner stood his ground, and the city government was in no position to ask more of the owner, she said.
“The blueprint wall has completed its mission for the time being,” Tu said.
“Perhaps it is better to let the dust settle for a while. Maybe there will be a new way of presenting the wall to others in the future,” she added.
According to the development bureau, Haian Road has embodied the rich diversity of artistic expression within the municipality over the past decade.
“With 2014 before us, Haian Road is looking forward to the sixth stage of its reimagining,” bureau officials said, adding that it would focus on three themes — nature, cultural creativity and humanities, bureau officials said.
“We hope to bring to residents of the city a street lined with cultural creativity and artistic beauty, while at the same time being able to enjoy the vitality of natural life,” the officials said.