New Taichung City Hall
After years of construction, the New Taichung City Hall opened its doors on the Oct. 10 National Day 2010, when the Taichung City Government held various celebration events to share its joy with the rest of the city. During the building's opening ceremony, Mayor Jason Hu said that he wanted to show the greatest gratitude to the various friends and people who contributed to this project. He noted he especially wanted to thank the Taichung City Council and citizens for their support in making it possible to construct this unprecedented new facility, which will come into official use when Taichung city and county are formally consolidated at the end of this year.
At the ceremony, Mayor Hu underlined the difficulties encountered in making this building a reality. From its original concept and design during former Mayor Lin Po-jung's time in office to the final opening, there had been many obstacles to conquer, making this a dream come true.
Mayor Hu also said that while the old city hall building had originally been constructed by foreigners--Japanese colonial rulers--the New City Hall had been built by the Taiwanese, with grander-than-average construction concepts and scale. Among its features is Asia's largest LED screen and a large pedestrian-only plaza closed to vehicles. According to the mayor, even Taipei's Ketagalan Boulevard in from of the Presidential Building must be open to traffic during weekdays. By contrast, the New City Hall Plaza can hold approximately 20,000 to 30,000 people and is always open for public usage, even for group exercises. Mayor Hu has especially requested that the managing department make good use of this space as an area for children's recreational activiites, skateboarding, bicycling, walking and similar purposes, as he envisions it becoming much like the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall's front multi-purpose plaza.
Regarding the building's overall design, Hu pointed out that both the New City Hall and New City Council structures were part of a complex designed by Weber+Hofer AG Architects, and centered on the concept of creating a dialog and communication with smooth connections between the buildings and an integrated "window of democracy". This is the first project in Taiwan to include both the city government and city council facilities and the mayor hopes that the future landscaping of the plaza will make it the pride and joy of all Taichung citizens.
The inauguration of the New City Hall, together with its usage certification obtained a week earlier, means that this building has passed all safety/security checks and is fully functional. Yet, with the upcoming merger of Taichung city and county, both governments are still coordinating an appropriate move-in date. Currently, not all Taichung City Government departments have moved into the new building. However, to provide the best services to the public, a service center has been set up at New City Hall.
ayor Hu stressed the importance of maintaining services even before the government has fully moved into the new structure. Public tours of New City Hal are also being offered, as the city government is welcoming any suggestions from the public and will do its best to make proper adjustments and improvements during this two-month transition period. All input will be taken into account to help get New City Hall up and running smoothly.
A series of celebration events have been organized by the city government in coordination with the building's inauguration ceremony, sharing this historical moment with the residents. Over 3,000 people attended the National Day flag-raising ceremony at 8 a.m., holding little Republic of China flags. Afterwards, Mayor Hu, guests and the public entered the building for a special tour and introduction in the auditorium, which can hold 500 people. Many participants expressed their admiration of the building's unique architectural style. There was also a floral design exhibition and sculptures displayed at the building to add a layer of cultural beauty. In addition, the city government is planning on having two artworks, by the famous "Grandpa Huang" from the Rainbow Military Dependents Village, recreated with ceramic tiles and exhibited in the fourth-floor gallery of New City Hall. Mayor Hu and "Grandpa Huang" displayed these works together before the inauguration ceremony, and the mayor praised Huang as a pioneering artist with the ability to see the extraordinary in the ordinary.
The New City Hall also boasts a 20-meter-long, 26-meter-high display that is the largest full-color LED screen in Asia. This was inaugurated by both Mayor Hu and Taichung County Magistrate Huang Chung-sheng and their wives. The vivid display, showing a colorful fireworks show, attracted many families during the opening. Noting that the New City Hall Plaza belonged to the public, the mayor declared that Greater Taichung evenings will be all the more beautiful thanks to light displays on the large LED screen and artistic light designs surrounding it. It will also be used in the future for showing movies, count-down shows and sports games, complementing the plaza, which holds up to 30,000, to create a wonderful public recreational space.
The building's opening event also included a mass wedding ceremony for Taichung citizens and government employees, as 155 couples were married under the blessings and witness of Mayor Jason Hu and Deputy Mayor Hsiao Chia-chi. The newlyweds also took the opportunity to take photos in front of New City Hall. In addition, there were also various food stands offering local Taichung snacks to the public, plus other activities such as obstacle courses, a family sketching/coloring competition, calligraphy writing and floral designing. All this offered a full day of morning-to-night fun for Taichung residents.