Bao-Shan Pavilion
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Location: Hsinchu, Taiwan
Design: May,2002–August,2002
Building: June,2002–December,2002
Site Area: 330.57㎡
Subtotal Area: 99.17㎡
Concept, Design and Construction

This was an exciting project for Banmu Tang Architects and thought-provoking things happen in Bao-Shan Pavilion.

Before Bao-Shan Pavilion, there was a brick farmhouse in the middle of a rice field. Nearby, a stone-processing plant with corrugated-steel roofs, and a small temple of the Earth God, along with a betel-nut booth with neon. Taken together, the scene is a snapshot of Taiwan. The seeming chaotic composition of building types and materials are common elements that, in some way, exhibit the local tradition and culture. The new building has to co-exist with these elements instead of walling itself up. Through careful observations, we develop an appropriate discourse with the elements, as well as a balanced relationship among nature, people and architecture.

Guarding by the Earth God, visitors may find the temple at the entrance while seeing the main building through a double-circle window on a fair-faced concrete wall. The wall severs the direct path to the main building and redirects visitors along a winding path to experience the sound of water cascades, the view of rice field, and the posture of a camphor tree in the mist of rice field. The experience calms visitors and prepares them to open their minds. Inside Bao-Shan Pavilion, a concrete wall cuts into the building and brings the outdoor inside hinting the connection between body and mind. By the doorway, there is a long reception table and a kitchen island serving tea and soup to welcome visitors.

At the doorway, visitors may wander in three directions: to the left a space with a kitchen island for cooking, meeting or reading; straight ahead, a hallway leading to the backyard; and to the right, a threshold connecting to a 12-meter wide square room for exhibitions and literary activities. By opening all French windows in the room, it is turned into a porch inviting the outdoor nature in, the wind and the rain, to come in. The floor extends out of the windows onto a deck facing a rice field. The deck is built at the height of rice paddies so that visitors may sit right next to it and admire the scenery. In summer time, when the rice has grown, Bao-Shan Pavilion appears floating on top of a sea of rice fields under the big blue sky.

Guan-Jia-Tai is a platform under a big tree, situated in the middle of the rice field, for visitors to observe and admire farming activities and the growth of rice. It is only accessible through a back alley, lined with green moth and Japanese ivy and shaded by an old tree. By the old tree, a gate connects to a wooden catwalk extending to Guan-Jia-Tai. Visitors, after gingerly moving through the long and narrow catwalk, are rewarded with a full view of Bao-Shan Pavilion, as well as the complete encirclement by the nature.

In the site of area more than 300 square meters, the building occupies the area less than 100 square meters. This was our answer for a place for heart and soul. Through countless twists and turnings, searching and wonderings, the yearnings are fulfilled by returning to the nature. We believe that the nature is in a rice field, under a tree, or even, just in a breeze.