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Abandoned shopping mall will be flooded to create a lagoon for Tainan, Taiwan

The Taiwanese city of Tainan will recapture its maritime past with the creation of a man-made lagoon on the site of a derelict and disused shopping mall.

The large outdoor pool will be the central focus of a new green public space linking the city’s downtown with its historic canal network.

The competition-winning design is the work of Dutch architects MVRDV, together with The Urbanist Collaborative and LLJ Architects.

Tainan’s natural lagoons and water network fed the city’s marine and fishing industry up until the early 20th century. However, a period of land reclamation and urbanisation in the decades since saw this water-based tradition diminish. The architects plan to re-establish this connection and stimulate the redevelopment of the neighbourhood.

The transformation will centre around the abandoned China-Town Mall – described by the architects as “the rotten tooth of downtown Tainan” – and the perpendicular Haian Road.

MVRDV founding partner Winy Maas said the exposed structure of the mall will form the base for the new public square, with part of its underground car park flooded to create “a poetic lagoon, a hip urban pool and a symbolic act”.

The square will contain souvenir kiosks, playgrounds, restaurants, a teahouse and a gallery.

The connection with the waterfront will be completed by the construction of a tree-lined promenade to the canal, and an artificial beach from which visitors will be able to see the sea – a view currently obscured by the mall.

Trees will be planted along Haian Road and a new traffic plan will make it more pedestrian-friendly.

MVRDV are working on the project with sustainability and landscape consultant Progressive Environmental and structural engineers Urban Sculptor Planning & Designing Consultants.

A trend is emerging of architects creating water spaces inside the shells of buildings. Australian studio MJA recently revealed plans to convert a sports stadium into an enormous outdoor wave pool and surf park.

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The Taiwanese city of Tainan will recapture its maritime past with the creation of a man-made lagoon on the site of a derelict and disused shopping mall. The large outdoor pool will be the central focus of a new green public space linking the city’s downtown with its historic canal network. The competition-winning design is the work of Dutch architects MVRDV, together with The Urbanist Collaborative and LLJ Architects. Tainan’s
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The lagoon will be built within the skeleton of a demolished shopping mall / APLUS CG
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