MVRDV create urban lagoon and park in remains of old shopping mall

In Tainan Spring, people can bathe in the overgrown remains of a shopping mall. Children will soon be swimming in the ruins of the past – how fantastic is that?
– Winy Maas (Photo: Barbra Verbij)

A new urban lagoon and park, designed by MVRDV, has opened in the preserved ruin of a shopping mall in central Tainan, Taiwan.

The China-Town Mall was built next to the Tainan Canal in 1983, the rise of online shopping means it no longer serves its purpose.

Instead, the Urban Development Bureau of the Tainan City Government commissioned MVRDV to create Tainan Spring as a new public space and as a means of showing how unused malls can be repurposed.

The main structure of the mall was dismantled to create an open-air space aimed at being a gathering spot for all seasons, with the materials "meticulously recycled".

What was the underground parking level was subsequently transformed into a plaza that is newly landscaped with an urban pool, green areas and shaded spaces.

The water level of the pool will rise and fall with rainfall over the seasons, while mist sprayers will help to cool visitors during hot weather.

The facility is planted with multiple layers of vegetation including local trees, shrubs and grasses that are aimed at emulating "the natural verdant landscape located to the east of Tainan" and ultimately growing into a lush jungle.

Among its other features are playgrounds, gathering spaces, a stage for performances and spaces that will be turned into shops, kiosks and other amenities eventually.

"In Tainan Spring, people can bathe in the overgrown remains of a shopping mall. Children will soon be swimming in the ruins of the past – how fantastic is that?" said Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV.

"Inspired by the history of the city, both the original jungle and the water were important sources of inspiration. Tainan is a very grey city. With the reintroduction of the jungle to every place that was possible, the city is reintegrating into the surrounding landscape."

lagoon  park  public space  MVRDV  shopping mall  Tainan  Taiwan 
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