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The Transformative Colours of the Xiafu Activity Centre by IMO Creations

One of the 2017 Best Design winners in the Spatial Design category of Taiwan’s Golden Pin Award, the Xiafu Activity Centre by IMO Creations turns a grey, coal-fueled town into a vibrant attraction.



BY Daniel Cunningham

5 January, 2018


On the northeast coast of Taiwan, about one-hour drive from downtown Taipei, the small community of Xiafu is landmarked by Linkou Power Plant and Hongfu Gong Temple. While the ever-expanding coal-fired power station provides employment to the residents of Xiafu, the temple is just as important.

In Taiwan, temples are more than simply a place of worship; they are colourful, ornate, cultural centres, where annual events feature exploding firecrackers, lion dances, processions of walking gods, and even pole dancers on pickup trucks. 

The New Taipei City government commissioned IMO Creations, an architecture and design studio with offices in Barcelona, Kyoto and Taipei, to design a playful community centre for Xiafu’s Hongfu Gong Temple community. Xiafu Activity Centre reimagines 26 individual colours from the ornate temple roof, as 160 vertical pillars, whose vibrancy leap out from the building’s grey, industrial surroundings.

Partner Architect at IMO Creations and project leader for Xiafu Activity Center, Lain Satrustegui says adapting from local culture, local conditions, and local ways of thinking, was key to the success of the project. “In the temple roof we have all these colours, but they’re very far away and very difficult for people to experience, so we actually recreated this color selection to be experienced by people,” explains Satrustegui.  

The objective was simply to construct a building beside the temple where the local community could gather for events, celebrations, and festivals, but IMO’s design concept had an unprecedented effect. Since it was unveiled in July 2017, Xiafu Activity Center has become an iconoclastic landmark that attracts people from far beyond the local area. Most surprising is the age group of visitors, making the pilgrimage to snap selfies for Instagram.

Xiafu Activity Center won the 2017 Best Design award of the ‘Spatial Design’ category from Taiwan’s Golden Pin Design Award, an international competition focused on design for huaren (Chinese-speaking) communities, confirming that the project attained its goal of connecting with the local community.

“For me, this project stands out because there is a playful element to it. People come in and want to interact with the building, which isn’t something that you would see from the other activity centre they had before. People did interact with that one, but this one is in a playful way where they feel connected to it somehow,” Satrustegui concludes.

View the result of the Golden Pin Award 2017 here


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