MVRDV has completed a whosale market with undulating, landscaped and publicly accessible roof in Tainan, Taiwan.
Named Tainan Market, the new wholesale market serves for fruit and vegetables to the local community in Tainan.
Described by Taiwan’s United Daily News as “the most beautiful fruit and vegetable market in Taiwan”, MVRDV-designed open-air market not only serves as an important hub for Tainan’s food supply chain, but also becomes a destination for meeting, socialising.
Thanks to its undulating green roof, the 12,331-square-metre market takes the views of the surrounding landscape from the building’s accessible roof.
According to MVRDV, the market is aimed to promote tourism in the region. “In the future, the roof can be further developed, with the possibility to grow fruit and vegetables on top of the structure,” said the firm.
MVRDV completed the design of the Tainan Xinhua Fruit and Vegetable Market with LLJ Architects. MVRDV first released conceptual renderings of the project in 2019 and completed the building in 2022.
“Tainan Market represents an ambitious architectural experiment,” said MVRDV.
Through this project, MVRDV changes the nature of a wholesale market and reinvents the typology – “a building type that is usually housed in simple metal sheds” as the firm stated. The project now turns it into a mixture of a market and a public green space.
“In doing so, the design takes an often-prosaic part of the food industry and elevates it into a place for the public to experience food and appreciate views of the landscape,” the studio added.
Tainan Market is another version of the Markthal project that MVRDV has already completed. The office’s well known project consists of a market and housing, was completed in 2014 and still represents an important landmark in Rotterdam.
Located to the East of Tainan, between the city and the mountains and, thanks to its proximity to Highway 3 and public transport links, Tainan Market is easily accessible from both the surrounding farmland and the city, making it equally convenient for traders, buyers, and visitors.
A simple open structure is complemented with an undulating green roof that forms a series of rolling hills.
The team creates a series of terraces on its eastern corner, planted with colourful plants and flowers. This roof steps down to the ground to allow visitors easy access to the top of the building.
The building is conceived as an elevated platform from which visitors can appreciate the landscape that characterises this part of Taiwan, according to the studio, the market acts as a continuation of that landscape.
On one side, a simple four-storey structure contains the market’s administrative offices and an exhibition centre where agricultural products from the region can be displayed.
This four-storey addition punctures the main structure, providing a secondary access to the roof.
Below the roof, the interior of the market space is simply designed and left highly functional. The structure is left open on all sides, and natural ventilation inside is provided via the building’s high undulating ceilings.
“Combined with the temperature-modulating effect of the earth and plants on the roof, this makes for a passively cooled building that remains comfortable even in Taiwan’s warm summers,” added the office.
Currently, the roof is used as a park with grass shaped by patches of flowers, but the original design proposed to grow crops instead – and according to the team, “it could still be completed at any time.”
“This would turn the roof into an educational farm, where visiting schoolchildren could learn about both how food is grown and the subsequent supply chain that delivers it to their plates,” said the MVRDV team.
“Tainan Market complements the landscape”
“Tainan’s surroundings, in my opinion, is one of those areas which is so beautiful to me because of its nature, fields, farms, sea, and mountains,” said Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV.
“Tainan Market reflects this beauty as it complements the landscape.
“It is completely functional and caters to the needs for auctioning, selling, and buying goods, but its terraced roof with – eventually – its collection of plants and crops will allow visitors to take in the landscape while escaping from the bustle below,” Maas added.
Tainan Market is the second of MVRDV’s projects in to be completed in Taiwan in recent years, following Tainan Spring, which strategically demolished a shopping centre to create a new public square with a lagoon.
Elsewhere in Taiwan, MVRDV’s design for Sun Rock, a warehouse and repair workshop for an energy company that is completely covered in solar panels, will soon start construction on the coast in Changhua.
More recently, the firm won a competition for the dramatic redesign of a town’s water infrastructure in Huwei.
Project name: Tainan Market
Location: Tainan City, Taiwan
Client: Tainan City Government Agricultural Bureau
Size and Programme: 12,331 m2 – wholesale market
Sustainability certification: EEWH-BC Silver Certificated
Founding Partner in charge: Winy Maas
Partner: Wenchian Shi
Design Team: Hui-Hsin Liao, Xiaoting Chen, Chi Yi Liao, Chiara Girolami, Enrico Pintabona, Maria Lopez, Gustavo van Staveren, Emma Rubeillon, Dong Min Lee, Jose Sanmartin, Cheng Cai, Yi Chien Liao
Visualisations: Antonio Luca Coco, Pavlos Ventouris
Strategy and Development: Isabel Pagel, Bart Dankers
Copyright: MVRDV Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries
Co-architect: LLJ Architects
Contractor: Yuh-Tong Construction Co., LTD.; Jiuyang Electric And Plumbing Engineering Co. Ltd.
Landscape architect: The Urbanists Collaborative
Structural engineer: Columbus Engineering Consultants Inc.
MEP: FRONTIER TECH INSTITUTE CO., LTD
Soil and water: Kuo Soil and Water Technicians
Green Building: Green Building Technology Consultants
All photographs © Shephotoerd.
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