Vision and Layout

Taipei 2050 Vision defines “gateway” as “a place people encounter others and the city”. After over 20 years of transportation infrastructure, this program focuses on how to plan spaces to serve people. It is committed to create human-oriented transportation, present historical landscape of human and cities, and enable public urban spaces for human encounters. These are all important governance objectives for Taipei City in the 21st Century.

Inherited from various plans about Taipei Main Station area, this program proposes the location as the “national gateway”. Based on the overarching urban plan, it identifies key issues in human-oriented transportation, historical landscape, ecological environment, cultural diversity, industrial innovation, and public engagement.

Key Issues

As past development plans didn’t take ecological landscape into consideration, Taipei Main Station surrounding area is clearly not adaptive enough to natural disasters or climate change. Besides serious urban heat island effects, it relies heavily on man-made facilities to continue operation in downpour. In the face of global climate change, this program responds to the following aspects:

  • High architecture density around the Station blocks airflow and creates discomfort in public spaces.
  • Limited plantations do not effectively enhance carbon emissions and air pollution.
  • Low surface permeability impedes heat dissipation and rainwater absorption.
  • Inadequate ecological infrastructure reduces water retention. Facilities such as pedestrian plazas, bus stops and car lanes are not efficient in drainage.

Taipei Main Station is an important transportation hub. However, urban spaces are fragmented by private vehicle systems and installations that contradict with pedestrian spaces. To achieve human-oriented transportation, it is necessary to resolve the following issues:

  • Extensive waiting and parking areas for private vehicles around the Station jeopardize pedestrian spaces.
  • Heavy traffic on Civic Boulevard and Zhongxiao West Road creates unfriendly walking and waiting spaces on the ground.
  • Installations on the ground become barriers to pedestrians and transfer process.
  • Insufficient wayfinding system and complicated routes in underground transfer area are difficult to evacuation during emergencies.

With higher cultural preservation awareness in recent years, some cultural assets on site have been planned and repaired by National Taiwan Museum, Taiwan Railways Administration, and Taipei City Government. After side approaches of Zhongxiao Bridge are removed, Beimen (North Gate) Square program is designed to highlight this heritage building. However, current cultural preservation strategies only focus on individual sites and reuses. The following issues in urban historical landscape are yet to be addressed:

  • Urban design principles around the site are not legislated, so it’s difficult to maintain existing urban texture and skyline in the old town.
  • Without regulatory strategies about commercial billboards, key historical buildings and surrounding urban landscapes are not coordinated.
  • Underground relics and buildings, such as Machine Bureau, Hetougou Street and Taiwan Railway Administration dorms, receive less attention without cultural asset status.
  • Without natural and historical landscape perspectives, few trees around Taiwan Railway Administration dorms are protected.

As a transportation hub, Taipei Main Station area has aggregated diverse cultures across ethnic groups, generations and faiths. However, each group only gathers at certain spots or sections, without substantial engagements with others. As a national gateway, this program should explore the following issues based on equal rights and public interests in public spaces:

  • Major public spaces around the Station are only used for events during certain holidays or festivals, without regular activities across groups.
  • Students, migrant workers, and other communities often gather at marginal regions with few interactions with other groups.
  • Insufficient public spaces underground do not attract commuters to stay and generate activities.

C1D1 and E1E2 are parcels around the Station with huge potentials. They will become new development areas after Taoyuan Airport MRT is up and running. Besides transportation infrastructure, neighborhood features, and business momentum, the program also needs to take potential resources into consideration:

  • Transportation hub is an obvious advantage, but buildings haven’t reached their full potentials.
  • Abundant historical resources are available around the site, but planning and renovation for old buildings are overlooked.
  • Insufficient coordination and integration between underground shopping street managements impact their connections.
  • Wholesale and retail business models behind the Station require reforms.
  • Unused public lands in and out of the site are all public resources. Urban regeneration with social housing and public interests has not yet started.

In previous major infrastructure projects, equal communication platforms were inadequate among public sector, private sector and citizens, which led to controversies in policy decisions. With rising public awareness in recent years, more citizens are actively engaging in public affairs. As this program involves multiple public subjects, it is necessary to handle the following issues with caution:

  • Due to administrative protocols and regulations, extensive public engagements are not included at the initial planning stage for major infrastructure projects.
  • Information asymmetry limits understandings among participants about restrictions, such as engineering interface and land ownership.
  • Without sufficient communications with key stakeholders, messages through media outlets may exacerbate misunderstandings.
  • It takes time to reach consensus. Under schedule pressure, project executions are unlikely to satisfy multiple sides.

Taoyuan Airport MRT has connected Taipei Main Station with Taoyuan International Airport closer. This program is building not only an western gateway in Taipei City, but also the main gateway from international cities to Taipei metropolitan area. We envision this program will present Taipei that responds to international urban governance principles in the 21st Century, including equal rights, human values, ecological diversity, as well as cultural diversity and coexistence.

To form a national gateway in the capital with global, natural, and historical insights, the team compiles key issues in human-oriented transportation, historical landscape, ecological environment, diverse culture, industrial innovation, and public engagement, based on survey results. The team also lays out visions, objectives, plans and strategies for this program:

An Energetic Startup Hotspot

Besides a transportation hub, this site should take advantage of direct connection to Taoyuan International Airport to aggregate international creative potentials. Cultural and historical resources around the site, as well as old building renovations, would be attractive to cultural and creative professionals. We can position this site as a startup hotspot in Taipei, and create cluster effects with the following approaches:

  • Exhibit local and international creative proposals at indoor and outdoor open spaces around the Station.
  • Utilize cultural and historical resources around the site to revive and innovate local neighborhoods.
  • Holistic design and operation can highlight spatial features at undergrounds shopping streets.
  • Startups will inspire transformations within traditional industries around the Station.
A Climate-Adaptive Ecological Corridor

International cities in future should be capable to prevent natural disasters, and to be adaptive to global climate change. Urban governance requires interdisciplinary and layered communications and coordination to ensure a sustainable and resilient city. This program is located at a transportation hub and next to Tamsui River. To enhance comfortable environment, open spaces, microclimates, and connections between the city and Tamsui River, the following landscape and ecological design approaches should be integrated to improve surrounding infrastructure:

  • Use local plants to create tiny cool islands in each block for better air circulation.
  • Increase plantations at plazas, bus stops and other public spaces. Choose local species that absorb pollutions and offer shades.
  • Integrate water management in architecture and public spaces to mitigate temperature and humidity.
  • Increase permeable surfaces on rooftops, plazas and sidewalks to reduce heat dissipation and runoffs.
  • New public and private buildings around the site are required to follow green building regulations in urban design principles.
  • Reduce reliance on artificial drainage, and reconnect the city and Tamsui River.
A Pedestrian-Friendly Space

As the first stop at the capital, future transportation should no longer prioritize vehicles. Besides functions, it should pay more attention to people, low emissions, TOD model, and activities at ground transfer areas. To ensure human-oriented transportation, the following approaches will return open spaces to pedestrians:

  • Streamline public transport transfer to reduce reliance on private vehicles.
  • Reform driveways to ensure sidewalk continuity.
  • Add covers on transfer routes, so travelers are not impacted by weathers.
  • Reevaluate and relocate projections on the ground floor to minimize obstructions to pedestrians.
  • Use sunken spaces to offer clear transfer instructions for underground floor, and serve as buffer zones for evacuation.
  • Replace stairs with gentle slopes at sidewalks to ensure accessibility.
A Balanced Old Town and Skyline

While skyscrapers increase significantly in the eastern part of Taipei over the past two decades, the western part preserves enriching historical resources. As historical urban landscape becomes a widely accepted concept internationally, cultural asset preservation should cover more than individual sites. Through urban planning and design principles, it is critical to sustain unique cityscape and history in Taipei:

  • Safeguard existing urban texture and skyline in the old town through urban design regulations.
  • Specify commercial sign and billboard regulations to improve significant heritage buildings and their surrounding landscapes.
  • Highlight historical resources without cultural asset status through landscape design.
  • Developments around cultural asset buildings should follow urban design principles.
  • Keep collective memories at rear station and old town area, and extend to Dadaocheng business district.
  • Review architecture scale, street spaces, plantation and other historical landscape components from urban design perspectives.
  • Offer bulk transfer mechanism to preserve and revive cultural assets in old town area.
A Cultural Hotspot for Coexistence

Over the years, Taipei Main Station has been a key transportation hub, and the surrounding area attracts travelers to and from Taipei City. Different ethnic, generational, and religious groups in Taiwan all aggregate here. By planning human-oriented spaces and intersecting routes, we should be able to take down barriers among communities for a sharing public space. The program suggests the following approaches to encourage positive engagements across generations and ethnic groups, and to inspire creative lifestyles and experiences:

  • Renovate public spaces around the Station into friendly and sharing areas to encourage regular, diverse and small-scale activities.
  • Multilingual public environment around the Station can embrace communications across groups.
  • Share indoor and outdoor public spaces to connect community gathering spots on the ground and underground.
  • Introduce services and facilities around transfer areas to attract and facilitate activities among commuters.
A Test Bed for Public Issues

Public engagement has been a mainstream value under current Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je. Public infrastructure and site renovation projects are tested with public engagement principles. Under previous legal frameworks, however, engagements were only a formality. The program is designed as a communication platform between citizens and city government. We focus on two aspects: Engagements before legislation and information equality for participants.

  • Collect feedbacks from citizens, users and relevant communities at the planning stage, and underline these opinions in the presentation.
  • Activities and campaigns in various formats introduce program details to citizens and users for feedbacks.
  • Websites and social media pages engage with stakeholders.
  • Publish data to support public engagements for effective discussions.

Vision

Taoyuan Airport MRT has connected Taipei Main Station with Taoyuan International Airport closer. This program is building not only an western gateway in Taipei City, but also the main gateway from international cities to Taipei metropolitan area. We envision this program will present Taipei that responds to international urban governance principles in the 21st Century, including equal rights, human values, ecological diversity, as well as cultural diversity and coexistence.

To form a national gateway in the capital with global, natural, and historical insights, the team compiles key issues in human-oriented transportation, historical landscape, ecological environment, diverse culture, industrial innovation, and public engagement, based on survey results. The team also lays out visions, objectives, plans and strategies for this program:

An Energetic Startup Hotspot

Besides a transportation hub, this site should take advantage of direct connection to Taoyuan International Airport to aggregate international creative potentials. Cultural and historical resources around the site, as well as old building renovations, would be attractive to cultural and creative professionals. We can position this site as a startup hotspot in Taipei, and create cluster effects with the following approaches:

  • Exhibit local and international creative proposals at indoor and outdoor open spaces around the Station.
  • Utilize cultural and historical resources around the site to revive and innovate local neighborhoods.
  • Holistic design and operation can highlight spatial features at undergrounds shopping streets.
  • Startups will inspire transformations within traditional industries around the Station.
A Climate-Adaptive Ecological Corridor

International cities in future should be capable to prevent natural disasters, and to be adaptive to global climate change. Urban governance requires interdisciplinary and layered communications and coordination to ensure a sustainable and resilient city. This program is located at a transportation hub and next to Tamsui River. To enhance comfortable environment, open spaces, microclimates, and connections between the city and Tamsui River, the following landscape and ecological design approaches should be integrated to improve surrounding infrastructure:

  • Use local plants to create tiny cool islands in each block for better air circulation.
  • Increase plantations at plazas, bus stops and other public spaces. Choose local species that absorb pollutions and offer shades.
  • Integrate water management in architecture and public spaces to mitigate temperature and humidity.
  • Increase permeable surfaces on rooftops, plazas and sidewalks to reduce heat dissipation and runoffs.
  • New public and private buildings around the site are required to follow green building regulations in urban design principles.
  • Reduce reliance on artificial drainage, and reconnect the city and Tamsui River.
A Pedestrian-Friendly Space

As the first stop at the capital, future transportation should no longer prioritize vehicles. Besides functions, it should pay more attention to people, low emissions, TOD model, and activities at ground transfer areas. To ensure human-oriented transportation, the following approaches will return open spaces to pedestrians:

  • Streamline public transport transfer to reduce reliance on private vehicles.
  • Reform driveways to ensure sidewalk continuity.
  • Add covers on transfer routes, so travelers are not impacted by weathers.
  • Reevaluate and relocate projections on the ground floor to minimize obstructions to pedestrians.
  • Use sunken spaces to offer clear transfer instructions for underground floor, and serve as buffer zones for evacuation.
  • Replace stairs with gentle slopes at sidewalks to ensure accessibility.
A Balanced Old Town and Skyline

While skyscrapers increase significantly in the eastern part of Taipei over the past two decades, the western part preserves enriching historical resources. As historical urban landscape becomes a widely accepted concept internationally, cultural asset preservation should cover more than individual sites. Through urban planning and design principles, it is critical to sustain unique cityscape and history in Taipei:

  • Safeguard existing urban texture and skyline in the old town through urban design regulations.
  • Specify commercial sign and billboard regulations to improve significant heritage buildings and their surrounding landscapes.
  • Highlight historical resources without cultural asset status through landscape design.
  • Developments around cultural asset buildings should follow urban design principles.
  • Keep collective memories at rear station and old town area, and extend to Dadaocheng business district.
  • Review architecture scale, street spaces, plantation and other historical landscape components from urban design perspectives.
  • Offer bulk transfer mechanism to preserve and revive cultural assets in old town area.
A Cultural Hotspot for Coexistence

Over the years, Taipei Main Station has been a key transportation hub, and the surrounding area attracts travelers to and from Taipei City. Different ethnic, generational, and religious groups in Taiwan all aggregate here. By planning human-oriented spaces and intersecting routes, we should be able to take down barriers among communities for a sharing public space. The program suggests the following approaches to encourage positive engagements across generations and ethnic groups, and to inspire creative lifestyles and experiences:

  • Renovate public spaces around the Station into friendly and sharing areas to encourage regular, diverse and small-scale activities.
  • Multilingual public environment around the Station can embrace communications across groups.
  • Share indoor and outdoor public spaces to connect community gathering spots on the ground and underground.
  • Introduce services and facilities around transfer areas to attract and facilitate activities among commuters.
A Test Bed for Public Issues

Public engagement has been a mainstream value under current Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je. Public infrastructure and site renovation projects are tested with public engagement principles. Under previous legal frameworks, however, engagements were only a formality. The program is designed as a communication platform between citizens and city government. We focus on two aspects: Engagements before legislation and information equality for participants.

  • Collect feedbacks from citizens, users and relevant communities at the planning stage, and underline these opinions in the presentation.
  • Activities and campaigns in various formats introduce program details to citizens and users for feedbacks.
  • Websites and social media pages engage with stakeholders.
  • Publish data to support public engagements for effective discussions.

Layout Overview

Overview

Inherited from urban plan in 1993 and central station vision in 2006, the program uses Taoyuan Airport MRT as the gateway, and integrates transportation facilities with sunken plaza. After renovation, the railway station has become a large living room that aggregates diverse cultures. Covered corridors create pedestrian-friendly paths. Beimen Square and Taiwan Railway Administration museum connect with local history. Southern side of TRA dorms will be preserved in an ecological park to extend public green belt to Yuquan Park and Tamsui River.

As E1E2 and C1D1 parcels within the site are still at planning stage. The planning team offers suggestions based on expert panels and public engagements.

For Tamsui River on the west side:

Park and Water Education Site

Dikes and overpasses have long separated Taipei City and Tamsui River. The program connects park with riverside to introduce nature back to the gateway in Taipei. It’s important for land in Taipei to cross those dikes.

  1. Parks across dikes
  2. Water education site
  3. Multifunctional Luoyang parking tower

TRA Dorm Park and TRA Museum Park

  1. TRA Dorm Park
  2. TRA Museum Park

Beimen Square

  1. Renovated Mitsui warehouse and old town cultural post
  2. Beimen Square
  3. Taipei Post Office

Sunken Square, Green Valley, and Taipei Corridor

  1. Sunken square and green valley
  2. Taipei Corridor

Citizen Corridor and Canopy Square

  1. Citizen corridor
  2. Canopy square

Taiwan Grand Living Space

  1. Taiwan Grand Living Space
  2. Rooftop renovation
  3. Railway station floor layout

Subtropical Plant Park & East Side Bus Station

  1. Taxi shuttle area on the ground is relocated to underground parking lot on the east side. Ground level is redesigned for buses and private vehicles.
  2. Ground space is covered with subtropical plants in Taiwan to offer shades and leisure possibilities. It’s connected to Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial House and Huashan Park.
  3. Taxi shuttle area on the ground is relocated to underground parking lot on the east side. Ground level is redesigned for buses and private vehicles.

Planning System

Transportation strategy

  • Layered road systems overcome traffic deadlocks.
  • Prioritize public transportation and transfer hub.
  • Accessible, comfortable and convenient pedestrian and transfer systems, as well as multifunctional event spaces.

Pedestrian-friendly routes

The program emphasizes a comfortable, accessible and legible pedestrian environment. We systematically review main pedestrian routes based on three criteria: accessibility, comfort and legibility.

Open space

This site is full of public transportation options with intensive pedestrian activities. The upcoming airport MRT will bring in large numbers of transit tourists. To highlight this national gateway, it’s suggested to create continuous green landscape along with enriching historical landscape.

Activity space

The program categorizes different types of venues for health and exercise, cultural and creative experiences, shopping, historical reflections, and transportation gathering.

Microclimates

To improve microclimates in the region, the program proposes an eco-city solution with heat, air, and water.

Urban landscape

There are three major urban landscapes on the west side:

  1.  Taipei Main Station axis: From Taipei Main Station to TRA Museum Park on the west.
  2.  Beimen axis: Zhongxiao West Road extended from Beimen.
  3.  North-south axis: Yanping North Road that tilts 13 degrees alongside old Taipei.

Light and sound

Besides existing facilities and activities in Yuquan Park, more are sparked with heritage building campaign, TRA, and Beimen museums. On Zhongxiao West Road and Yanping North Road, projection mapping will appear on buildings. Light poles are not installed on refuge islands, but on roadsides to avoid visual obstruction. Serial events will expand evening activities around the Station to various corners in the program with different features.

Sound is also a critical element in this program. At green valley, museum park, Japanese dorms, and sunken plaza, wider open spaces and vehicle access ban create quiet zones. Cool island waterway starting from east side parking lot will be connected to water systems in the west to block noises from driveways.

Industry Plans

Opportunities for west side revival

  1.  Rising cultural asset preservation awareness and growing cultural and creative industry.
  2.  Connect two L-shaped cultural and creative clusters

Vernacular industrial development strategies in the Western Gateway Program:

The following approaches aim to establish a diverse and embracing national gateway:

  1.  Create diverse industrial spaces.
  2.  Create regular activity spaces.
  3.  Integrate historical urban landscape concept into holistic development strategies.
  4.  Modify program details and timing based on market needs.
  5.  Enhance directions and identities for underground spaces.
  6.  Assist shops to adjust their businesses and operations.

Layout and execution suggestions

  1.  Taipei Main Station is designed as startup incubation center and Taiwan main living space.
  2.  Sunken plaza in front of station is designed as multifunctional event space.
  3.  E1E2 and T12 blocks are designed as creative area.

Public participation

By holding workshops, exterior exhibitions, and guided tours, we gathered different perspectives and feedback from citizens.
Our proposal of Taipei Oasis has been highly supported and expected.

Expert and focus group panel

Interdisciplinary discussion is main working mode within our team. Therefore we highly value the advice from Expert Consultancies.

By gathering different professional perspective, we integrating suggestion to our planning goals, and thus put our idea to masterplan.

Public engagement workshop

  • Taipei Main Station is designed as startup incubation center and Taiwan main living space.
  • Sunken plaza in front of station is designed as multifunctional event space.
  • E1E2 and T12 blocks are designed as creative area.

International Seminar

  • 2016「Vision of Taipe」
  • 2017「history・nature・humanity・new gateway」

West Region Gateway project achievement Exhibition

  • West Region 30 New National Gateway
  • Exhibit & Mid-summer Oasis Outdoor Forum
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