TAIPEI DAY 3 / AM – SITE VISIT – TAIPEI RAILWAY WORKSHOP

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I. Four Heritage Buildings:

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1.  Bath House:

-Was granted Heritage Building status by the Taipei Cultural Bureau in 2000

-Building completed in 1935

-This building has a symmetrical plan, where the main bathing facility occupies the central axis, and two wings of locker rooms & shower units flank the central hall to the East and the West

-The symmetry of the building allows the breeze to travel through opened windows and facilitate ventilation

-There are two “bath tubs” in the central hall; each is 5 m in diameter and 1.2 m in depth. The use of these two “bath tubs” alternates daily. In-between the two bath tubs is a sink for worker’s to clean themselves first

-The water used in the Bath House was heated on site by the boilers located in the Central Power House

-The Bath House typology comes from the Japanese culture where the act of bathing in public is considered a social and recreational event after a long day of work.

-Privilege of using the bathing facility: male factory workers on site only

-Current structural issues: ceiling started to peel away, hence installed plastic awnings to prevent debris from falling into the bath hall

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2.  Assembly Factory:

-Built in 1935

-Main structural material: Steel, and reinforced concrete wrapping

-Structural joinery system: nuts & bolts

-The bolting on the building was very laboriously handcrafted. The process consisted of first making the bolt on site, throwing it up to the worker who would be assembling it (when still hot), the worker catching the bolt in a bucket of water, and then assembling it and holding it in place until it cooled.

-168m long, 24.5 m wide, 23m tall (about 5 stories), largest assembly building in Taiwan

-Building façade takes on patterns of two windows + one vent, and one window + one vent, and these two patterns alternate

-Huge cranes across the ceiling

-Has not had any repair since time of construction, sound structural stability

-The building has high ceilings to allow for steam from the steam engine trains to flow through the building

3.  Central Power House:

-Has three boilers, vary in size: size decreases from east to west

-Two small boilers are still in operation, largest one has stopped in use

-Fuel for boiler: gasoline

-This power house supplies and distributes water, pressured air (steam), & electricity to the rest of the site

-These three boilers need to be protected with a building shell to prevent water/rain leakage. Water leaking into boiler will cause smoke to be black and bring forth environmental issues

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4.  The Forge:

-Contains 3 steam hammers

-Oldest one was made in 1889, bought from England by the Qing Dynasty, it is the oldest existing in Taiwan

-The range of strength of the hammers from the strongest to the weakest: 1 ton, ½ ton, ¼ ton

-Steam hammers are used to cut the formed metal rods into pieces

-Factory is divided into areas where metals are forged, and areas where formed metals are being cut

-The tubes in the ceiling and periphery of the building transport the steam used to power

sketch

sketch by: Rocío Santo-Tomás

 

II. Three Cultural Buildings:

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1.  Diesel Electric Shop:

-Completed in 1958

-Main structural material: reinforced concrete

-This is where engines for locomotives are being cleaned and fixed

-After the Japanese left, the Americans came and brought diesel trains

-The floor is made out of wood because of wood’s ability to absorb diesel and resist loads from trains

-Heavy smell of diesel, harmful to human body

-Cranes in this factory cannot be in operation due to the subway development beneath and around the site, which caused the soil below the factory to sink for about 60 cm

-Contamination generated by this building will be limited to its current boundaries

-Current structural integrity can withstand typhoon & earthquake

-The structure of the building consists of concrete columns and steel beam connections

-The building is very popular for music video shoots

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2.  Main Office Building:

-Bottom floor has an L-shaped arcade, built in 1935

-Top floor does not have arcade, built in 1966

-Garden outside the office buildings was planned as part of the train-depot complex

-Garden is in Japanese style, and is constantly maintained by gardeners

-Vegetation outside the planned garden area are grown by factory workers at leisure

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3.  New Train Factory:

-Only half of this building is considered as “cultural building”, there is a clear division between the older part of the building and the newer part

-Newer part completed in 1950’s with reinforced concrete, older part completed in 1935 with steel

-Steel columns are extended to cover the the entire length of this building so cranes can be operated

-Original floor was made from wooden brick, wood species: Hinoki (very strong, and desired by the Japanese Colonists)

-This building has suffered two floods in which some of the wooden bricks were washed away; replacement was expensive so the factory patched up the damaged floors with concrete

-Current roof leak, especially during west-northern rain season

-In general the current structural integrity of this building is okay

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III. One Outdoor Cultural site:

-Outdoor Crane: Steel is rotten, no longer in operation, however it is safe enough to stay as public art. This outdoor crane was used to transport any new train parts from the rail tracks onto the train-cart transfer station and then to the specific factory

-Train-cart transfer station: a wheeled station running perpendicularly to the factories and other rail tracks on site; it is used for transferring train carts from the car shop (New Train Factory) to the paint shop and vice versa

-The above two items will remain on site as public art

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IV: Q&A

Q: Will the currently employs move with the train depot to a new location?

A: Yes, because the train depot provides their housing. Older employees who own houses adjacent to the current train depot will retire soon.

2.  Q: Please clarify the difference between “Historical Buildings” and “Cultural Buildings”

A: Historical Buildings=cannot be altered, everything needs to be kept original; Cultural buildings=façade stays the same, interior can be altered, and the degree of alteration can be negotiated

3.  Q: Who will become the future manager of this site?

A: Don’t know yet, this will be decided by Taipei Railroad. However, disregarding the ownership of the site, the Train Depot position will most likely to be put into a position to maintain the historical buildings. This requires anything new built on the site to be revenue-generative so to cover the cost of maintaining historic buildings

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V. Key historic periods:

1930’s: Japanese Colonial Period

1950’s: American military Intervention



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