MU architecture: ‘taichung city cultural center’ proposalall images courtesy of MU architecture




canadian firm MU architecture has proposed a sustainable crystalline array that is integrally linked to the city and taichung gateway park. the volumetric concept of ‘taichung city cultural center’ is that of a megablock divided into 13 equal bars that are stacked and rotated asymmetrically. the driving idea is to connect to the urban context by creating a gateway and 360 degree views, while allowing maximum light penetration. as the blocks peel away from one another, the exposed structure becomes a garden, reducing heat-island effect and contributing to passive cooling of the building. below the green rooves, collectors lead rain to cisterns throughout the project. the water is then used for toilets, gardens, irrigation, and maintenance. to reduce waste post-construction, the center promotes recycling and composting — used to augment the landscaping and gardens.

MU architecture: taichung city cultural center proposalthe geometric form relates to city, while its organic facade maintains a connection to the surrounding landscape

MU architecture: taichung city cultural center proposalthe scale-like skin varies in opacity to allow or prevent rampant daylighting and solar gain

MU architecture: taichung city cultural center proposallibrary reading rooms and stacks rise high above the ground plane, framing a gateway between taichung city and gateway park

MU architecture: taichung city cultural center proposalthe asymmetric volume allows 360° views of taichung city and gateway park




prefab lightweight steel structure and laminated lumber floor construction reduces the carbon footprint and energy consumption in project construction. the trusses encompassing each bar allow for long cantilevers, which provide shading. column-free expanses provide flexible space for exhibition in the museum and large open reading areas in the library. reducing the need for electric lighting and energy from the grid, sawtooth rooves above gallery spaces allow northern light to enter while collecting direct sunlight with southern-facing photovoltaics. wrapping the structure, the curtain wall panels vary in opacity, allowing or preventing passive heating and daylighting according to the solar exposure. a multi-layered light-blocking skin shrinks at 32°C to expel water. this evaporative cooling reduces the building temperature up to 15°C. the skin doubles as a solar hot water system that also provides ventilation through the center. on the ground level, a large main square with permeable paving calls taichung citizens together for cultural arts activities, recreation and special events. at the end of the piazza the elevated library spaces and extensive cantilevers form a large arch that leads to the park. with its elaborate form, and organic skin, the ‘taichung cultural center’ literally and morphologically bridges curves of the landscape and the hard lines of the city. 

MU architecture: taichung city cultural center proposalthe water collection system becomes a public recreation place

MU architecture: taichung city cultural center proposalexpansive views inform the design of the cultural center

MU architecture: taichung city cultural center proposalthe robust structure and laminated timber floor construction allow for column-free expanses along the 16 x 76 meter bar



MU architecture: taichung city cultural center proposal




project info:


official name of the competition: taichung city cultural center international competitionsite : taichung, taiwanname of the client : taichung city governmentproposal by: mu architecture, canadaarchitects : charles côté, jean-sébastien herrdesign team : jean-sébastien herr, charles côté, matthew schmid, jean-philippe bellemare, valentine hallouinrenderings : courtesy mu architectureproject area : 48 714 m2project budget : 80 m$