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December 2018

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Cover Story

Building the Style of Recreation through History - Adaptive Reuse of Kinmen’s Historic Houses

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The success of obtaining the 30-year above ground usage rights of Deyue Tower
has become an important milestone in the adaptive reuse of Kinmen’s historic houses.
/ Huai-Chi Yang

Interviewee / Wen-Lung Hsu, Former Director General, Construction and Planning Agency Ministry of the Interior (Director of Kinmen National Park Headquarters from 2000 to 2006)

Article / Ru-Ling Yu
Photo / Huai-Chi Yang

The first national park in Taiwan that aims to conserve cultural assets and battlefield heritages was established in Kinmen in 1995. In its jurisdiction, there are Southern Fujian style buildings preserved since the Ming and Qing Dynasties, impressive western-style mansions from the merchant-gentryera, as well as natural ecology that is preserved under the long military control period, and combat readiness facilities and battlefield heritages left behind after the relieving of battlefield mission. Although many of the traditional buildings scattering among the settlements have collapsed due to neglect and lack of use, one can still imagine their magnificence during their peak moments when standing before the remains.

In 1999, Kinmen National Park Headquarters set up subsidies for maintaining the traditional architecture style of buildings in Kinmen National Park, providing funds for renovating these traditional buildings. For traditional buildings with preservation value but could not be repaired by residents themselves, owners can give over the above ground building rights to the Kinmen National Park Headquarters for 30 years, and the renovated building will be adaptively reused as exhibition halls, homestays, shops, etc., and manage by the national park. Kinmen National Park has conquered many obstacles in negotiating and broke through the difficulties of the complicated property rights in solving the cumbersome usage right probl ems , restoring the building according to the original appearance, and outsourcing the operation to be used as homestays, exhibition halls, restaurants or shops. Through the restoration and reuse of historical buildings, it not only achieves national park’s purpose of preserving cultural assets, but also promotes community development, and enables visitors to experience the wisdom and culture of the ancestors through these traditional spaces.

Interpretation and exhibition are one of the ways historic houses are reused;
in addition, there are even more diverse ways of adapting these spaces.
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