Renovations at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport’s Terminal 1 may be delayed as a Japanese architect and the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) have locked horns over a change in the design.
Last year, the CAA decided to launch a makeover project for the terminal, which has been in operation since 1979, recruiting Japanese architect Norihiko Dan to redesign it.
Under Dan’s design, the terminal would be covered by a glass curtain. Because of the new design, the terminal’s outdoor rain shelters would have to be removed, otherwise passengers would not see the glass curtain above.
The dispute began when Dan wanted to remove the pre-stressed beams of the terminal’s outdoor rain shelters.
To be on the safe side, the construction team conducted a test to see what needed to be done before removing the beam. They found that they would need six steel pillars to support the structure after removing just one beam from the rain shelters.
The CAA were concerned by the test results, as the outdoor rain shelters have a total of 34 beams. Because the beam removal project could disrupt passenger traffic, the CAA decided to stop the test and reconsider the plan to remove the pre-stressed beams. Upset by the CAA’s decision, Dan has asked to speak to Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) directly.
“Using a medical example, it is just like a patient who is ready to have his appendix removed and blood pressure measured. Because the person does not understand the kind of operation he is undertaking, he then decides not to have his blood pressure measured and gives up on the operation,” Dan said in an e-mail to the press.
Dan also held a press conference on Thursday night and said he had had difficulty communicating with Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) officials.
MOTC deputy minister Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) said the ministry was “surprised” that Dan had not communicated with the ministry officials first, taking the matter to the press instead, and said Mao was prepared to meet with him at 7pm on Thursday as Dan requested but Dan did not show up. Yeh said the incident showed a lack of communication on both sides, but defended the ministry’s decision.
“Our highest guiding principle in settling the dispute is passenger safety and convenience,” Yeh said.
While Dan proposed finishing the renovations within three-and-a-half years, the ministry has said the project must be completed within two years.
“In response, Dan said it would be a little bit difficult, but he did not say he couldn’t do it,” Yeh said.
CAA director general Ying Chen-pong (尹承蓬) said the CAA would clarify two things with Dan.
“We want to determine if removing the beams for the outdoor rain shelter would compromise the safety of the structure,” Ying said. “He also has to tell use how he proposes to protect travelers’ safety and keep traffic smooth when removing the beams.”
Ying added he disapproved of Dan’s behavior.
“We are owner of the house; do we not have the right to change the design of the house?” he said.
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