Taichung Mayor Shiow-yen Lu arrived at Rotterdam, the Netherlands, the testing ground of modern architecture yesterday (6th, Taipei time) to visit Markthal, lauded as the most fashionable market in the world. In addition to visiting the RDM Rotterdam and historic building Het schielandshuis, she also met with the projects' planners, designers, and partners, obtaining ideas that can be used as a reference for transforming public markets in Taichung via modernization and tourism development. The information can also be used for implementing policies on the revitalization of historic buildings, and startup ecosystem.
Mayor Lu and the city hall delegation traveled to Markthal in Rotterdam, Netherlands, which is the brainchild of renowned architect firm MVRDV. The exterior of the Markthal resembles that of a horseshoe-shaped building with an arched roof. The interior measures 120m long by 70m wide, roughly the size of a large football pitch. The brightly lit, clean and modern-looking market features vibrant paintings by local artists. When Markthal was opened in October 2014, it became a new architectural landmark in the region complemented by novel cube houses, pencil houses, and tube houses.
According to Mayor Lu, it is imperative to introduce modern market management concepts to improve retail markets in Taichung. By visiting the Markthal, the delegation can acquire knowledge in business configuration, booth planning, as well as cultural creatives that can be used as a reference for promoting hardware facility upgrades, modernization, and tourism developments within traditional markets
Mayor Lu commented that the Markthal is not only a marketplace but also a brand new multifunctional complex consisting of 228 apartments, 100 booths, 15 shops, 8 restaurants, and 1,200 parking spaces. The delegates visited one of the apartments to appreciate the lifestyle and living space of retiree Nicole, who is also a very fashionable individual. From her apartment on the 20th floor, she enjoys a commanding view of the marketplace below through the clear glass window in the living room. The tempered glass design also insulates the apartment from the market's noise and odor.
The delegation also traveled to RDM Rotterdam and historic building Het schielandshuis to listen to briefing by Rotterdam Partners. Mayor Lu suggested that Het schielandshuis is one of the few surviving 17th-century buildings in Rotterdam today. By maintaining the historic building's façade and renovating its interior, it is possible for the old to meet the new, and the space is currently used by government agencies or private organizations for the purpose of revitalizing the historic landmark.
Mayor Lu believes that historic architecture should include the element of people to keep it alive. There are many international examples of buildings and historic monuments being well-maintained after they were restored and reopened to the public. On the contrary, countless historic monuments in Taiwan have fallen into disuse after restoration. With a century of heritage and history, Taichung Prefecture Hall is the premier historic building in Taichung, therefore the future management of the facility after renovation should follow similar directions.
Urban Development Bureau Director-General Wen-pin Huang elaborated that Taichung Prefecture Hall is currently undergoing renovation, and successful experiences of historic building revitalization and repurposing in Amsterdam and Rotterdam will be taken into consideration to allow people to work and live in the historic building.
Furthermore, Mayor Lu also discovered during the trip that not only is there significant historic ties between Taiwan and the Netherlands, but marriages between Taiwanese and Dutch citizens are very common as well. For example, the docent of this historic building – who is also the business manager of Rotterdam Partners - John William has a Taiwanese wife. Furthermore, numerous Taiwanese professionals are also working for the distinguished architect firm MVRDV, including youth Kuan-wen Chiu from Taichung. Mayor Lu was pleased to meet the young professionals from home working in the Netherlands and offered them words of encouragement, hoping to inspire them to make a contribution to society by working diligently.