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NP QUARTERLY

December 2008

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BRILLIANT PEOPLE

Guardian of Tranditional Architecture - Interview with Professor Cian-LangLi

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Lin-An-Tai Historical Home has removed to Binjiang Park in Taipei city.
Enlightenment
 
Student Cian-Lang Li wanted to become an architect. However, the speech “Old Buildings in Taiwan” by Painter De-Jin Si and a field trip led by Professor Heng-Dao Lin, nicknamed “Master of Taiwanese Historical Sites,” changed all that. Si shared how to appreciate traditional buildings aesthetically and that a house had to be both stable and artistic. He told Li that “an old house is like a friend that you can pat on the shoulder”. The respectful Prof. Lin, on the other hand, related the charm of old buildings from the perspective of folklore grassroots history.
 
Predecessor guidance communicated the beauty of and affection in traditional ideas and ambitious youths. Defeat of
buildings. Environment changes inspired American troops in Vietnam stimulated questions against capitalism. Skyscrapers could lose to traditional ones in poor countries. In Taiwan, the 1980’s saw local movements, impacting architecture and literature while stressing pop culture.
 
Yes. Culture is not aloof but should be part of life, available in every alley. European and American architects seek design inspirations in lower-story housing. The cultural community in Taiwan turned around to care for local and traditional buildings but the force was relatively weak. In as early as the 1920’s and 1930’s a couple of Japanese scholars already studied old buildings including aboriginal ones in Taiwan.
However, even the later Lin and Si had to conduct studies out of their own pocket to supplement the insufficient government subsidies. “It was a lonely path supported only by interest and mission,” said Prof. Li.
 
Vision of the city
Indeed, pioneers are often lonely, especially in the attempt to turn around a value. Despite the call for preserving traditional buildings, it takes years for the significance to show and between economic growth, quick convenience and benefits, and old buildings, the former often prevails.
 
Urban planning needs to be far-reaching. Taking a look into the future, Li sees a city without a personality because of lacking historical sites. Prioritization is important
in urban development. For example, Li said, a river should be a fun place for people but we tear down adjacent villages to expand the riverside expressway. Cars might be symbol of advancement in the past but they are bad air and unfriendly environment now.
 
Way of transportation changes with time. Old buildings are not reversible. Short-sighted people see only the present. Historical sites or traditional buildings symbolize the past and the future. Despite their different patterns, they are part of Taiwanese culture and national heritage that future generations are entitled to and should be carefully maintained.
The Lin-An-Tai Historical Home former location is near Tun Hwa S.Rd. The full devotion Prof. Li to the research and preservation of traditional architecture can be observed through his complicated perspective drawings and detailed research data.
  • upper: Lin-An-Tai Historical Home has removed to Binjiang Park in Taipei city./ by Jin-yuan Dai
  • lower left: The Lin-An-Tai Historical Home former location is near Tun Hwa S.Rd./ by Cian-lang Li
  • lower right: The full devotion Prof. Li to the research and preservation of traditional architecture can be observed through his complicated perspective drawings and detailed research data./ by Cian-lang Li
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