Away from the urban jungle of Taipei City, Taipei Tech students embarked on a 100 kilometer journey to the mountain side of Hsinchu to take an out-of-the-ordinary design class. The field-based design class is led by Prof. Chih-hong Huang, Dean of College of Design, and Prof. Kuang-ting Huang of the Architecture Department in collaboration with Dr. Chia-en Lo from the Quri Indigenous Community. The students who participated in the project will help redesign the old prayer shack up at the Prayer Mountain of the Quri Community.
Sixty students who took this Architectural Design Course at Taipei Tech started their design processes in March 2020 from site visiting, design meetings to module constructing for the prayer shack of the Quri Community. In addition to aesthetics, they also need to take the characteristics of the base and the climate of the site into
account when building a durable shack. By the end of the semester, 4 designs were selected as the best ones and the designers were invited to showcase their designs to the reverends and tribal elders of the community.
Cheng-yi Hsu, the reverend of the Quri Church, mentioned that “the shack had been remodeled twice in the past decade, but due to technical limitation and its lack of proper maintenance over the years, it cannot be put into use now.” He is very impressed by how Taipei Tech students thoughtfully take the terrain and the overall environment of the Prayer Mountain into consideration and design the shack accordingly. He looks forward to seeing more designs that incorporate traditional Gaga elements such as the pattern of the sun and diamond.
“It was very challenging to comprehend a different religious belief from your own and to remodify the shack with the least damage,” said Che-ming Chang, student of the Taipei Tech Architecture Department. He also needed to incorporate the local culture into his design while conforming to nature. Nevertheless, this is a very fruitful experience for him as he had learned a unique technique utilized in the Quri community that combines bamboo with structural steel, and he intends to try it out in his future project.
“The second phase of the Indigenous Peoples Humanitarian Architecture and Agroecological Innovations Development Program has been officially implemented by Taipei Tech this year,” said Prof. Kuang-ting Huang, “We intend to construct an agricultural ecovillage together with the Quri community and to consolidate consensus of the indigenous community on rural reconstruction. Through the field-based learning, students are able to obtain hands-on experiences while practicing the importance of professional ethic and social responsibility.”