Too often, infrastructure is built in a rather unsexy, utilitarian way. But we know that they can be designed as symbols of civic pride, as they are in a lot of places around the world.
In Taiwan, Habitech Architects lent a poetic bent to this sewage treatment plant in Taoyuan, in the northwestern part of the country. Doubling as an environmental education centre, the project is enveloped in a double skin that's formed with an amorphous-looking steel framework, which references the mountainous landscape found in "Peach Blossom Spring," a tale written by Chinese poet Tao Yuanming in 421 CE, about a hidden mountain utopia where people live in harmony with nature. The architects say:
Like the spirit behind the tale of "Peach Blossom Spring," the proposed sewage treatment centre is a cleansing plant that purifies and cleanses water; hence we took the image of mountains portrayed in the fable of the "Peach Blossom Spring" as our main theme and concept for this project.
The modular steel frame stretches over the entire project, giving it a softer, more fluid look. Aluminum louvers offer a bit of shade from the sun, while still permitting wind to pass through during hot days in this region.
Within the complex is a pond that has cleaned water being diverted in, as the team explains:
The purification pond featuring the treated wastewater is designed to be the focal point of the ecological education centre. The curved louvered facade forms a mountain dome space that accommodates flower, birds, sunshine, water, breeze, and rain to interact with each other, making it a perfect environment for an ecological educational experience.
Though there are exceptions, it's too bad that generally here in North America, infrastructure projects aren't given more design consideration like they are in Europe and elsewhere. This project is a particularly good example of how it could be done: make these essential buildings beautiful, and make them educational too -- we'd all be better off with such an approach. To see more, visit Habitech Architects.