A groundbreaking design concept has rendered a new wholesale fruit and vegetable market in Taiwan with an accessible terraced green landscape for socialising and outreach
In Taiwan, a new wholesale fruit and vegetable market is taking an often prosaic part of the food industry and elevating it to a place for the public to meet, socialise and soak in the views of the surrounding landscape. Located to the east of Tainan, between the city and the mountains, the Tainan Xinhua Fruit and Vegetable Market features a groundbreaking design for an accessible terraced green roof. This makes the open air-market not only an important hub for Tainan’s food supply chain, but also a destination for social gatherings to come together and experience food. Thanks to its proximity to Highway 3 and public transport links, it is easily accessible from both the surrounding farmland and the city, making it equally convenient for traders, buyers and visitors.
The design comprises a simple open structure with high undulating ceilings that allow for plenty of natural ventilation. This is topped by an undulating terraced green roof that is accessible from the eastern corner where the terraces step down to ground level. These terraces will house the different agricultural produce of the area, wherein each terrace will grow a different crop, such as pineapples, rice, roses, tea and more. The level of each type of plant will be determined by their individual climatic requirements. The building provides an elevated platform from which visitors can appreciate the landscape that characterises this part of Taiwan. At the same time, the terraces take on the appearance of rolling green hills, thus becoming a continuation of that very landscape.
On one side, a simple four-storey structure contains the market’s administrative offices, a restaurant and an exhibition centre where agricultural products from the region can be displayed, making the building ideal for school visits. This four-storey addition punctures the main structure, providing a secondary access to the landscaped roof. The roof also includes sheltered spots, benches and picnic tables that allow visitors to sit and enjoy the view.
“Tainan, in my opinion, is one of those towns that is so beautiful to me because of its nature, agricultural fields, farms, sea and mountains,” says Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV. “Tainan Market can become a building that symbolises this beauty as it compliments both the landscape and its surrounding environment. It is completely functional and caters to the needs of auctioning, selling and buying goods. But the terraced roof with its collection of growing products will also allow visitors to take in the landscape while escaping the bustle below.”
Tainan Xinhua Fruit and Vegetable Market expands the portfolio of MVRDV’s recent projects in Taiwan. These include the Tainan Axis—which revitalises central Tainan with improvements to two key streets and a new public square with a lush green lagoon, and the Taipei Twin Towers—a recently won competition for two skyscrapers that will become a focal point in the centre of the country’s capital.
Project: Tainan Xinhua Fruit and Vegetable Market, Taiwan
Architects: MVRDV, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Client: Tainan City Government Agriculture Bureau
Size & Programme: 80,000 sq m wholesale and auction market, including 11,510 sq m roofed area (first phase) covering 180 market plots and space for auction, logistics, freezer storage and service facilities, administrative office, gates, and a roof-top restaurant.
Founding Partner in Charge: Winy Maas
Partner/Director: 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, Nienhsun Huang
Visualisations: Antonio Coco, Pavlos Ventouris
Copyright: MVRDV 2018 (Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries)
Partners & Co-architects: LLJ Architects; 510 Wu Yi Ling Architects; Landscape – The Urbanists Collaborative; Structure – Columbus Engineering Consultants Inc; Installation – Frontier Tech Institute; Soil and Water – Kuo Soil and Water Technicians
Year of completion: 2020