Page C1.1 . 26 September 2001                     
ArchitectureWeek - Culture Department
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    Postcard from Taipei

    ArchWeek Image

    Photo: Carol Busby Cricow

    ArchWeek Image

    Photo: Carol Busby Cricow

    ArchWeek Image

    Photo: Carol Busby Cricow

    ArchWeek Image

    Photo: Carol Busby Cricow

     

    Click on thumbnail images to view full-size pictures.


     
    Dear ArchitectureWeek,

    On a ten day trip through Taiwan, I spent most of the time in Taipei. Taipei was built in a hurry by the forces and friends of General Chiang Kai-Shek after they escaped from mainland China and settled in Taiwan in the 1950s. The city is showing its age.

    The buildings are mostly rectangular and almost always white (or formerly white), beige, tan and other rather bland colors. The only buildings that are colorful are the Chinese temples scattered throughout the city which are vibrant reds and golds.

    The bland design and coloring of the buildings is a great contrast to the multitudes of signs that hang from every floor. These are apparently mostly advertisements my Chinese is nonexistent although I can read "Coke," "McDonalds" and "Toshiba" quite easily.

    The structures and the sidewalks are disintegrating. Government money in Taipei does not seem to be going toward repair and rebuilding. Sidewalks seems to be the responsibility of whoever owns the adjacent buildings. There's no discernible code, and sidewalks go up and down with each building sometimes an inch or two, often a lot more, even up to a foot in the middle of a block. One walks with one's eyes on the ground.

    On the road in Taipei,

    Carol Busby Cricow

     
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