Designing Taichung Central Park: Presenting a Holistic Philosophy Structurally



Park Rendering (all images © Catherine Mossbach & Philippe Rahm)


Parks have become more than leisure destinations. Cities, as clients, have insisted that parks should include more than tennis courts and swimming pools; but they should also stimulate the brain beyond what nature might have in store. Thus, the winners of the 2012 Taichung Gateway Park competition, Catherine Mossbach and Philippe Rahm proposed an ambitious and innovative series of microclimates as the guiding thought behind their Atmospheres of Wellbeing proposal. The microclimates, scattered throughout the linear site, were to be the product of natural and artificial devices.





The jury at the time was quite enthusiastic about the idea, and, if it could have survived the scrutiny of the client and been carried further, it might have served as a model for parks elsewhere. This was not to be the case, as the City thought that it was a bridge too far. So the team had to return to the drawing board.


The result is no less intriguing: in addition to the atmosphere, biosphere, etc. themes, a new element was injected into the design—educator Rudolph Steiner’s holistic model of the twelve senses as physically suggested by the implementation of twelve structures—should we call them follies? Each is designed in such a way as to suggest a strong connection to a certain human feeling.



The 12 senses are:


– Speech



– Taste



– Hearing



– Equilibrium



– Thinking



– Vision



– Movement



– Ego



– Touch



– Warmth



– Smell



– Life




So this park is as much about stretching the mind as well as leisure. It will be interesting to see how it is received by the Taichung community—and the many who will undoubtedly visit it.