MVRDV turns dilapidated mall into inner-city lagoon
In the age of internet shopping, a lot of malls have been found surplus to requirements and closed, but MVRDV offers one idea for what to do with them with its recently-completed Tainan Spring. The project transforms a dilapidated old mall into a lagoon and park in Tainan, Taiwan.
Tainan Spring, which was created along with local firm LLJ Architects and The Urbanists Collaborative, was first unveiled back in 2015 under the name T-Axis and measures 54,600 sq m (almost 600,000 sq ft).
It was a big job and involved demolishing the 1980s shopping mall that was previously on the site. This was, according to MVRDV, "meticulously recycled," though some structural elements were retained, including an underground parking area, which was turned into a sunken public plaza with a swimming pool. Additionally, in a nice touch, the firm installed a glass floor area to enable people to see the former mall's structure beneath.
"The pool has been carefully planned to be a perfect gathering spot for all seasons: the water level will rise and fall in response to the rainy and dry seasons, and in hot weather mist sprayers will reduce the local temperature to provide welcome relief to visitors, reducing the use of air conditioning in the summer months," says MVRDV. "This space hosts playgrounds, gathering spaces, and a stage for performances, while the artful deconstruction of the building's concrete frame has left a number of follies that can in due course be converted to shops, kiosks, and other amenities."
The Tainan Spring project also involved renovating a nearby road and improving conditions for pedestrians. Car traffic is now reduced to one lane each way and infrastructure that couldn't be removed but was deemed unsightly, like ventilation shafts for example, were painted a uniform color and decorated by a local artist.
A selection of trees, shrubs, and grasses were planted in both the main lagoon and along the road to echo the area's natural landscape – though MVRDV does caution that it'll take up to three years until it all grows into the lush garden that it expects.
Tainan Spring is just the first project by MVRDV due to be completed in the city this year and the firm is also nearing completion on the Tainan Xinhua Fruit and Vegetable Market.