Wed, Feb 17, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Legislative Yuan should be heritage site: expert

By Chen Yu-fu and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The main entrance of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei is pictured on Monday.

Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times

The Legislative Yuan should grant cultural heritage status to its Japanese colonial-era compound, said Ling Tzung-kuei (凌宗魁), a cultural heritage expert at the National Taiwan Museum.

Since it moved to its current location in the 1960s, the Legislative Yuan has been using the compound of the former Taihoku Prefectural Second Girls’ High School, an architectural relic built in 1927 by the Japanese colonial government, to hold legislative sessions and for offices for its legislators and staff.

In the 89 years that have passed since its construction, the compound has seen many changes in its occupants, as well as its appearance.

For example, the compound was heavily damaged by US aerial attacks during World War II. After the war, the compound was repaired and served as the office of the Taiwan Provincial Government’s agriculture and forestry division until the Legislative Yuan displaced its previous owners.

Other changes were effected. What was once the principal’s office is now the legislative speaker’s private reception room, while the sports field was paved over and converted to a parking lot.

The compound is not the only colonial girls’ school that survived. Two buildings of the four prefectural girls’ high schools in Taipei are still standing and enjoy cultural heritage status, according to the Ministry of Culture.

The site of the Taihoku Prefectural First Girls’ High School houses the Taipei First Girls’ High School, while Taipei Municipal Zhongshan Girls’ High School now occupies the former Taihoku Prefectural Third Girls’ High School. Each modern girls’ high school preserves one building from their colonial predecessors as cultural heritage sites.

However, the Legislative Yuan has refused to decide on the historical status of the compound that has served it for decades, even as legislators debate over what to do with the facilities they increasingly view as obsolete and expensive liabilities.

One issue is that the Legislative Yuan compound belongs to the Taipei City Government, which charges the legislature an annual fee of more than NT$52 million (US$1.55 million) for the privilege of leasing.

In addition, the small compound is ill-suited for the large size of the modern legislature and its staff and several petitions have been signed by legislators who said they want a more spacious and modern compound in which to conduct official business.

After the Democratic Progressive Party’s presidential and legislative electoral victories, the party’s city mayors and county commissioners proposed the relocation of national government branches, including the Legislative Yuan, outside of Taipei in the name of balanced development through a redistribution of political and economic power.

However, a lack of consensus in the desirability of relocation might have stayed the legislature’s hand in applying cultural heritage status to its compound, Ling said.

Too many proposals have been made by proponents favoring their own solutions and, as a result, no one in charge took responsibility for applying to the Ministry of Culture’s Bureau of Cultural Heritage to protect the compound, he added.

The Legislative Yuan compound is historically relevant, not only due to its age, but also its distinct architecture, which possesses a mixture of styles prevalent in the Taisho and Showa eras, including the steel-and-concrete structure and the classical brick-and-timber section facing the entrance, which is absent in other public schools built by the Japanese in Taipei, Ling said.

This story has been viewed 2312 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top