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MOFA defends Taipei Guest House project

MOFA defends Taipei Guest House project

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday invited local media to the Taipei Guest House, a historical building constructed during the Japanese colonial period, in order to clarify a local magazine report that accused the MOFA for spending NT$420 million in restoration of ancient building but achieved little.
"The restoration project is conducted under careful and serious preparation and was supervised by local experts and scholars," said MOFA spokesperson Phoebe Yeh (葉非比) yesterday.
Hsu Yu-Chien, the architect that responsible for the restoration, and local scholars who specialized in ancient architectural structure all attended the press conference to explain the details of the project.
Yeh's statement came after Chinese-language Next Magazine released a report yesterday that quoted Chuang Wu-nan, a local master in colored drawings of traditional Taoism temples, accusing the MOFA of having done a terrible job in repairing the 100-year-old building.
Chuang pointed out that there is rusty water coming from the facade of the main building even after the restoration project.
Some of the vase-shaped granite balusters, which are the trademark of Taipei Guest House, were changed into those made of cement, thus making the view ugly and not uniform, Chuang added.
"The rusty water is a natural phenomena because the material in constructing the building contains iron," said Hsu, adding that the iron in the construction material, after having long-time exposure to oxygen, has turned into rusty water.
The difference
He added that the granite balusters were deliberately changed into cement ones in order to show a difference between the original ancient balusters and the newly-implemented ones, Hsu added.
It is the latest trend on the restoration of ancient structures that worldwide scholars have tended to agree that one should make a clear distinction from the old and new, he said.
Hsia Chu-Joe, a National Taiwan University professor, specialized in the restoration of historical sites, echoed Hsu's view.
Hsia added that Hsu had put a lot of work in repairing the graceful baroque residence house.
Hsia and scholar Lee Chian-lang both said that the restoration is a large project that should be done in cooperation by experts in various field, saying that they very much welcome different views on the issue in response to the criticism made by Chuang.
Taipei Guest House is the historical building located at Ketagalan Boulevard in Taipei City, in front of the Presidential Office Building.
It was originally built from 1899 to 1901 during Japanese rule and was the house of Japan's Governor-General of Taiwan.
The building that was dubbed as the most beautiful baroque building in Taiwan as under reconstruction from February 2002 to March 2007. It was reopened to public on June in the same year and served as a site for state banquet when foreign distinguished guests visited Taiwan.


Updated : 2021-05-10 01:47 GMT+08:00