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Garnering International Accolades – 4 Taipei City Parks Clinch World-Class Landscape Awards

PSLO honored at the IFLA Asia-Pac LA Awards Hailed as the Academy Awards of the landscaping scene, the IFLA Asia-Pac Landscape Architecture (LA) Awards was held on November 8, 2019, in Cebu, Philippines. Taipei City Government’s Parks and Street Lights Office (PSLO) demonstrated remarkable achievement by winning 4 awards out of 9 award-winning submissions from ROC government agencies; these include the Outstanding Award for The Watering Flywheel Contributes Water Circulation for Urban Forests, and Honourable Mentions such as A Theater Stage in the City - Taipei Travel Plaza; Gary to Green – Dagangqian Park; and the Riverside Regeneration Reconnecting People with the Environment Dong He Park & Tian He Park Landscape Design Project.

The IFLA Asia-Pac LA Awards is hosted by the IFLA (International Federation of Landscape Architects), which is not only a prominent organization in the professional field of international landscape architecture but is also a partner of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The IFLA convenes global and regional conferences annually. A total of 14 member countries including Japan, Korea, China, and Australia participated in the 2019 IFLA Asia-Pac LA Awards, which saw 174 outstanding submissions. With an abundance of remarkable submissions, iconic designs in various categories were selected by the director of various member countries in the preliminary round. In round 2, the shortlisted entries were reviewed again to determine the winners of the Outstanding Awards, Awards of Excellence, and Honourable Mentions.

According to Deputy Mayor Pong Cheng-sheng, The Watering Flywheel Contributes Water Circulation for Urban Forests – the Outstanding Award recipient in the Communities Category – draws inspiration from the community fitness gym to create the first Taipei Eco Gym by combining ecological engineering with flywheel exercise. The underground water storage can be circulated through the energy generated from peddling the flywheels, and the process is complemented by flowing water art, bird calls, and greenery. Using the watering flywheel to exercise is also a treat, as it not only allows citizens to relieve stress, take a well-earned break and stay fit, but also helps to supply nutrients to the ecological environment.

PSLO Deputy Director Tsao Yen-lun commented that the Honourable Mention recipient in the Cultural and Urban Landscape Category, A Theater Stage in the City - Taipei Travel Plaza, is located at an important transport hub where 6 railway systems converge, therefore its design is inspired by the core concept of creating an urban living room that is steeped in the city’ history and heritage, featuring characteristics such as gateway image, directional identification, and smooth circulation. After the plaza is “opened”, Taipei Main Station will once again be located opposite the North Gate Plaza, creating an extension of the visual axis. Furthermore, lighting for the recreational space at the plaza is adjusted via smart streetlights. Gray to Green-Dagangqian Park, the winner of the Parks and Open Space Category, is located in Neihu District, facing the Jinmianshan in the north and Keelung River in the south, forming the largest green space sandwiched between the mountain and river. Inspired by the philosophy of taking care of people and the environment, 4 dimensions including usability, ecology, sustainable education, and local association have been contemplated to create a leisure corner for everyone, where people can rest in the woods and get a momentary respite from the pressure of work. If you have time to spare, why not rumble through the grassland facing the mountain to admire Jinmianshan, or you can enjoy the mesmerizing fragrance of the herb plantation area.

Chief Engineer Lan Shu-fan of PSLO suggested that the Riverside Regeneration Reconnecting People with the Environment Dong He Park & Tian He Park Landscape Design Project, the Honourable Mention recipient in the Nature Conservation Category, has preserved the running water space of the historic monument Fanjing Bubbling Spring, where an ecological engineering technique is applied to a portion of the area in order to facilitate water flow. Moreover, aquatic plants are cultivated to filter impurities in the water and create a microhabitat, while the plantation density is altered through thinning to improve the openness of the trees and the overall brightness of the activity space. In addition, the elevated boardwalk is designed according to the fluctuating terrain, linking the park’s space to the first playground in Taipei City that is constructed using sawdust.

The PSLO is dedicated to elevating the landscape quality of parks, green spaces, and squares, as well as improving the environment, park features, and ecological conservation. By winning the international awards, landscape architecture in Taiwan will be endowed with more global influence and visibility. In the future, besides ongoing refinement, the agency will be committed to integrating culture, tradition, community, and ecology in an effort to create more pleasant, high quality recreational environments for Taipei citizens.