Building Beyond Place: RUR Engages Taiwan's Architectural Cosmopolitanism, on view at TAAC Tribeca/ E.Tay Gallery in New York through October 17, features three projects by New York-based architecture firm Reiser +Umemoto (RUR) - the Taipei Music Center, Alishan Tourist Routes, and Kaohsiung Port Terminal. The exhibition explores how the architects responded to three geographically diverse post-industrial sites in Taiwan: urban Taipei, rural Alishan, and maritime Kaohsiung.
Through large-scale drawings, photography, models and videos, Building Beyond Place demonstrates how RUR approached these three projects, addressing the specific briefs for the buildings while simultaneously engaging Taiwan's broader cosmopolitan ambitions. Collectively, they show how its historical and geographical heritage is key to resisting the homogeneity and placelessness that has overtaken many nearby post-industrial nations.
"The three projects in this exhibition - in Taipei, Alishan, and Kaohsiung - were opportunities for us to radically redefine what a cosmopolitan architecture could be," commented Jesse Reiser, Principal at RUR. "Rather than looking towards international or more regional architectural styles, contemporary technology allowed us to utilize archaic, pre-industrial techniques - such as basket-weaving and ceramics - which appear everywhere in the world and nowhere in particular. In this manner, our ambition is that the work will resonate within and beyond Taiwanese culture."
The three projects each respond to a unique site condition created by industry - a linear cut through a forest, a jagged, polluted waterfront edge, and an industrial valley between hills. RUR's designs focus on integrating the structures into these specific environments while staging an oftentimes breathtaking encounter between new architecture and nature. Building Beyond Place demonstrates RUR's role in the current and ongoing transformation of Taiwan, with these three projects serving as vital models for its future as a post-industrial and cosmopolitan nation.
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