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American Society of Landscape Architects


June 2007 Issue

Made in Taiwan
A corporate headquarters in Taipei features an interplay of levels.

By Graham Johnstone

Made in Taiwan 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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