Dutch studio MVRDV has transformed an abandoned shopping center in Taiwan into an unusual public space.
The empty China-Town mall was transformed into a lagoon, with sandy shores and local thickets plants. The old mall has been built in Taiwan, the fourth largest city after Taipei, the capital of the peninsula state, in 1983. The renovation was realized as part of a master plan to rejuvenate the area.
According to Vini Maas, founder of MVRDV, the idea of transforming an abandoned mall was inspired by the jungle and lagoons that once covered the entire surface of the island. The resulting new formation will be called Tainan Spring. The "lagoon" basis will be a former parking lot, located below the surrounding former mall streets.
The structure has been converted into a public swimming pool, where the water level will change depending on the season. Thus, during the rainy season, it will rise, and in the dry season, the fogging system will work. Plants planted anywhere will grow with time and turn into a miniature jungle, with children playing in it. It is expected to take 2-3 years.
"Tainan is a very gray city," Maas said. It just needs those green-breathing islets of nature.
According to the developers of the project, the overhaul will demonstrate how empty shopping facilities can be turned into unusual public places, which could be very useful against the background of the growing popularity of online stores and buyers' declining interest in large shopping centers.
Tainan Spring is one of two projects that MVRDV plans to complete in Tainan this year. The second project is a public market, which will also be generously decorated with vegetation.
Photo credit Daria Scagliola.