a network of staircases defines taiwan cafe by sou fujimoto
a network of staircases defines taiwan cafe by sou fujimoto
jan 22, 2014

a network of staircases defines taiwan cafe by sou fujimoto

open air taiwan cafe by sou fujimoto is a city park
image courtesy of sou fujimoto




between architecture and landscape.
between furniture and architecture.
between inside and outside.
between nature and architecture.


these were the thematic areas that sou fujimoto discussed during his presentation at business of design week in hong kong. the young japanese architect is known for merging the natural and built space, breaking down the physical and visual boundaries that would normal divide the two through the realization of visually transparent programs. throughout his talk, fujimoto supported and expanded on these architectural philosophies by sharing examples of his own work. among the projects he discussed was the ‘taiwain café’ in the city of tainann – a place known for its numerous alley ways.

sou fujimoto taiwan cafe designboom
top view of the ‘taiwan café
image courtesy of sou fujimoto




the design aims at forming a new urban environment by employing these passageways which are normally considered a place of transition, and turning them into areas in which to linger. conceived as a ‘three-dimensional alley’, the ‘taiwain café’ is structured as a network of staircases that offer landings where customers may sit and relax, providing just as many places to stay on the inside, as there on the outside, as well as extensive circulation throughout. 

sou fujimoto taiwan cafe designboom
intertwining staircases allow for circulation between the trees
image courtesy of sou fujimoto




taking into consideration taiwan’s climate of harsh sunshine and excessive rain, fujimoto’s multilayered pathways, which extend vertically, have been organized to create a structure that is covered by roots and leaves — surrounded by a flourish of trees that offers shade and protection to patrons. the result is an open air zone in the heart of the city that erases barriers and sees people’s activities and happenings flowing out onto the street, generating a renewed energy to the inhabitants.

sou fujimoto taiwan cafe designboom
up close of the open air design
image © designboom


sou fujimoto taiwan cafe designboom
full view of a model 
image © designboom


sou fujimoto taiwan cafe designboom
the area of tainan city, taiwain where the project is slated to be built
image courtesy of sou fujimoto


sou fujimoto taiwan cafe designboom
another view of the site location
image courtesy of sou fujimoto


sou fujimoto taiwan cafe designboom
sou fujimoto during his talk at BODW 2013
image © designboom


a network of staircases defines taiwan cafe by sou fujimoto

  • OMG! its not ADA compliant!

    dbkii says:
  • everyone is thinking it… disabled access… nice

    rjc says:
  • I’m pretty sure the the first A in ADA stands for AMERICANS. Aside from that, reminds me of an Escher drawing.

    DT says:
  • It is ADA compliant! look carefully!

    protounivers says:

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