Derelict Factory Transformed Into a Mixed-Use Facility for Local Community

Lingering on the edge of different scales
The architectural language developed for conventional single-building architecture has proved insufficient in the face of urban issues. Rem Koolhaas said in his 1995 book S,M,L,XL, “Beyond a certain scale, architecture acquires the properties of Bigness. …Bigness is the ultimate architecture.” Nonetheless, in this project, we strove to create maximum urban impact with a small-scale architecture in narrow alleyways.

S - People
The goal of people-centric urban planning is to create local, sustainable lifestyles. However, urban planning in Taiwan only involves zoning and urban design that prioritizes car-centric planning and distribution of land use, neglecting the development of street space that allows pedestrian traffic and connects urban blocks. Since pedestrian activities should be prioritized in urban spaces, we hope that re_Gartory, as an individual point in the Calligraphy Greenway of Taichung City, can lead the way in connecting Shenji New Village, Fantasy Street, and Taichung Civic Square. We trust that this connection can streamline the establishment of a pedestrian-centric green transportation corridor and facilitate human interactions. This allows pedestrians to freely roam in public and private spaces, passing through public and private spheres, transforming and directly experiencing the urban spaces.

M - Architecture
Re_Gartory is located at a site on the Calligraphy Greenway of Taichung City where a small derelict factory building once stood. After its owner organized a series of exhibition and craftsman’s market as a send-off, the factory was torn down and rebuilt as a mixed-use facility with shops (including a florist shop and a pastry shop), design workshops, an art gallery, an exhibition space, and open spaces on the ground floor. The facility’s indoor plants décor creates a unique atmosphere and the aluminum panels on its facades echo the site’s previous incarnation as a factory. Large areas of glass windows and aluminum panels were installed on the two sides that face the streets along with a huge bentwood installation on the corner, creating a spatial conversation between its contrasting components of man-made materials and natural elements.

The original steel structure of the factory was also repurposed as display shelves and street furniture, while a skylight was further installed to let sunlight and nature spill into the building with limited space. Although divided into many spaces, the facility maintains the possibility of transparent communication, allowing users of different spaces to share their own perspectives and offering visitors a different view of the neighbourhood. Through the construction of this facility, we have achieved community placemaking and helped the community reshape its surroundings. Most importantly, we’ve drawn people closer together.

L and XL - City and Nature
Taichung City is known for its pleasant weather: not as humid as Taipei and not as hot as Tainan. The city’s rapid development since 2008 has attracted young people and drove its population to second place in Taiwan. After inspecting the site in person, I asked myself, “What part does a corner florist shop play in an urban corridor?” The walkway that spans from the National Museum of Natural Science to the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts has already been established as the city’s urban corridor. However, what we strove to create is not just a point passed through by people in the urban corridor, but a waypoint where people stop and cross paths. We tried to expand the delightful intersection between the indoors and outdoors, creating a boundary that is not clearly nor too vaguely defined, thus makes it less confined and more dynamic. Within this boundary, you can have coffee with desserts, relax on the bentwood installation, enjoy the indoor plants décor, pick up a bouquet for your dinner date, or go upstairs to see an art exhibition.

Design Architects: ZongRu WU, Pei-Husn Chuang and Hsuanya Kao.
Local Architect: KDS Architects.
Street Furniture: Curvink Architects.
Photo Credit: Manka Huang.
Location: Taichung, Taiwan.
Year: 2017 - 2019.
Area: 172.5 m².
Client: Gartory Co., Ltd.
Further Information:  re_Gartory.