Made in Taiwan
A corporate headquarters in Taipei features an interplay of
By Graham Johnstone
Tom Fox, SWA Group
In Neihu Technology Park on the expanding northern edge of
Taipei, Taiwan, the Lite-On corporate headquarters overlooks the Keelung River.
Visitors take a taxi ride through straight, tree-lined corridors against a
backdrop of mountains and glimpse the world’s tallest building, Taipei 101,
which resembles a giant bamboo pole.
Lite-On, a major Taiwanese information technology and electronics
company, chose the 33,502-square-foot site for its new corporate headquarters
and research facility. The client retained local architecture firm Artech Inc.
and the landscape architecture firm SWA Group of Sausalito, California, to
collaborate on a design for an energy-efficient building that would meld with
existing landforms and provide secure, functional outdoor space for passive use
by employees and visitors.
This tightly integrated program called for the landscape
architects and the architects to work closely together throughout most of the
project. Their collaboration began at the conceptual stage, with the landscape
architects contributing to the schematic design, and continued into design
development, where the design teams shared ideas through a series of critiques,
some conducted via fax across the Pacific Ocean. Begun in 1999, the project was
finished in 2001 and won a 2006 ASLA Honor Award.
The architects’ initial concept was to split semipublic and
private spaces by means of a sloped landscape “podium” covering much of the
site. This wedge-shaped platform would house core facilities, including four
levels of below-grade parking, a lobby, auditorium, and employee café—the
corporation’s public spaces. The podium would also serve as a base for a
tapered, 25-story tower containing office and research space, with retail space
at the street level.
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