Taipei historic site becomes a ghost house due to lack of maintenance

The Baroque residence, built in the 1920s and located on Guide Street in Taipei’s old area of Dadaocheng, was truly a luxurious mansion in that era.

The backyard of the Baroque residence built in the 1920s. (Photo by CNA)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—Several Taipei City’s cultural officials asked the owners of the historic residence of Chen Tian-lai (陳天來故居), a municipal historic site, to improve the building’s conditions in three months after finding serious water leakage problems inside the house and tiles peeling off from the exterior walls during an inspection on Thursday.

The Baroque residence, built in the 1920s and located on Guide Street (貴德街) in Taipei’s old area of Dadaocheng, was truly a luxurious mansion in that era. It was the residence of Chen Tian-lai, a wealthy tea merchant. The building not only has a grandiose facade, but its interior is also impressive with handmade carved patterns on the glass and elegant floor tiles. There are even ponds and rockery in the backyard, architectural features characteristic of residences of rich merchants at that time.   

However, as ownership of the residence belongs to more than 30 people, who couldn’t reach a consensus on how to maintain and preserve the building, the conditions of the residence have deteriorated over the years, with serious water leakage problems, tiles peeling off from the exterior walls, aerial roots of the trees in the backyard sprawling up the cement exterior walls, and paintings in the house reeking of mold and mildew.  

After the inspection, the officials said the most urgent tasks of maintaining the historical site are solving the leakage problems, repairing the exterior walls, opening the windows to facilitate ventilation, and pruning the trees in the backyard. They all agreed that the conditions of the site will become worse and the maintenance cost will keep rising if the problems continue to be ignored.

As the owners of the site are required by law to improve the conditions of the building within three months, the officials urged them to convene meetings as soon as possible to discuss and solve the issue.

(Photo by CNA)

(Photo by CNA)

(Photo by CNA)

(Photo by CNA)

(Photo by CNA)