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An Architectural Dream

by on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 5848 hits Comments
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Recently I have had many architectural dreams, I remember two of them in particular: one was taking place in a European city, probably Paris or London, I could easily recognize the white stone buildings 6 or 7 stories tall, representative of the Haussmann style. But only because I was dreaming, they were also displaying new decorative items: attached to their sides were the flying saucers that you can ride in amusement parks. I could hear the passengers’ shouts fade in and out as they were whirling fast in the air.

My second dream featured a village in the south of Taiwan. I remember having wondered why I hadn’t known that place before. Actually I was amazed by the architectural style of the village houses: they were combining the white “pierre de taille”, proper to the buildings developed in France in the 17th century, and the grey slate used in traditional Bunun villages in Southern Taiwan. This unexpected mixture created a pleasant impression of a quirky elegance.

In fact, I have noticed that the houses, apartments or buildings that appear in my dreams are mostly of European style, sometimes of colonial style too. Although I have been living in Taipei for more than five years now, I rarely dream of its architectural landmarks; even if the action takes place in some place on the island, its frame is more likely to be a Parisian flat or a western interior.

In 6 years in Taipei, I have lived in three flats and one house. It is frequent indeed to move in and out here because it is not easy to find a place where to feel “at home”. New buildings are not necessarily pleasant to the eye and, most of the time they are massive and aggressive. Old apartments have the charm of being queerly-shaped but they can feel unsteady and, on top of not being environmental friendly, they rarely conform to the basic rules of safety.

Maybe the place where we live, where we sleep, eat, work and play, does not only define the frame and the boundaries of our living space, but concurs to shape our being and our mental structure. And vice versa. So let’s just imagine that the chassis of my brain is built on the model of the flats in which I have spent most of my childhood life, my brain would be a Parisian bourgeois apartment with a creaking wooden floor and a moquette ocre. The stairwell, too tight to install an elevator, would smell like wax wood. In fact, the whole building just reminds me of an old lady, a little bit patched up, but dignified and full of memories. Then what kind of place would my brain imagine for me to live in Taipei? I dream of a place that would shelter me from the tropical weather without losing my intimacy with nature, an affordable place with a history that goes beyond the shady speculations in the housing development.

Photo: C.P.

Last modified on Wednesday, 08 January 2014 17:33
Cerise Phiv (張俐紫)

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