More buildings from the former Taihoku Winery have been granted historical site status, the Taipei Department of Cultural Affairs announced on Monday, stymieing plans to build a performance hall in Huashan 1914 Creative Park in the city’s Zhongzheng District (中正).
After the winery was relocated to New Taipei City’s Linkou District (林口) in 1987, artists began using the Japanese colonial-era buildings and lobbied for its preservation as an arts space.
In 2003, the grounds were transformed into an official “cultural and creative park,” now operated by Taiwan Cultural-Creative Development Co (TCDC).
At a meeting on Monday, the Taipei Cultural Asset Review Committee announced that it would upgrade two more buildings in the park to city-level historical sites: the Silian Building and the Rice Wine Factory, both built in 1933.
The Silian, or “four interconnected,” building on the east side of the park usually hosts rotating exhibitions, while the Rice Wine Factory in the middle of the compound currently houses shops, including Wooderful Life.
However, as agreed in TCDC’s renovate-operate-transfer contract with the Ministry of Culture, the firm had planned to construct a 4,500m2 multipurpose music hall and a skywalk to connect buildings in the park.
TCDC chairman Wang Jung-wen (王榮文) told the meeting that preserving historical buildings is the trend and he is optimistic about its success, but raised concern about balancing preservation with revitalization.
Furthermore, even though it had already been approved, the construction plan now needs to be entirely rethought, which would require more time and money, Wang said.
He expressed the hope that avenues for legal recourse could be established for corporate losses caused by similar issues.
Committee member Kuo
Chiung-ying (郭瓊瑩) said the construction plan was intended to revitalize the space, but that the crative park is already a highlight of the city and draws many visitors every weekend.
“It has already been revitalized enough,” she added.
Committee member Tsai Yuan-liang (蔡元良) also objected to building a performance hall, but said that the skywalk is a good concept.
Hopefully the company could renegotiate its contract with the ministry, Tsai said.
After the meeting, Wang told reporters that the public is increasingly paying attention to older buildings, regardless of whether they have been designated as cultural assets.
The area around the Taihoku Winery should simultaneously be preserved and revitalized, he said.
Now that the performance hall cannot be built, he would think of a way to open the newly discovered well in the winery’s distillation chamber and to creatively present the facility’s winemaking history, Wang said.
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