Grace Hill 麗庭莊園

Grace Hill in the Songshan Airport Flight Path

Grace Hill 麗庭莊園 (pinyin: Liting Zhuangyuan) is a former wedding venue situated in an industrial park in Neihu District 內湖區, Taipei 台北. It opened in 2005 under the management of the Zhangxing Wedding Company 長興婚禮事業有限公司, an outfit keen to disrupt the local market with a larger, more extravagant space for weddings and other events. The business struggled at first but became more widely known after it was featured in television series, music videos, and the news. In 2007 the space was leased to Dears Brain 迪詩, a Japanese wedding company hoping to enter the Taiwanese luxury wedding market. The original owners took a step back, ceding control of day-to-day operations to Japanese management, and the business continued to grow over the next several years.

Linkou Lightning Building 林口閃電大樓

The infamous lightning building of Linkou

The Linkou Lightning Building 林口閃電大樓 is an infamous ruin not far from the newly-opened Taoyuan Airport MRT line in Linkou 林口, recently named the fastest-growing district in New Taipei 新北. It is also known as the Linkou Strange House 林口怪怪屋 and occasionally appears in Taiwanese media alongside the Longtan Strange House and other examples of the genre. While I wish there were a good story to go along with these photos it sounds as if it is simply a failed construction project where nobody wants to cover the cost of demolition.

A Gem of a Storefront

Xinfu Jewelry in Hsinchu

A classy storefront in Hsinchu not far from the train station.

This storefront immediately caught my eye when I arrived in Hsinchu 新竹 a few hours ago. Both the facade and the lettering are unusually classy, showing a vintage style of design not commonly seen here in Taiwan. This is a jewelry shop, as the clever use of characters would suggest, and its formal name is Xinfu Zhubao 鑫府珠寶. The first character, xin 鑫, is known as a sandiezi 三叠字, or triplet character, and is composed of three instances of jin 金, which means gold. Whoever designed the lettering obviously had some fun integrating a sparkling jewel into the two characters on either side of the shop’s name!…

Asia Museum of Modern Art 亞洲現代美術館

Outside the Asia Museum of Modern Art 亞洲現代美術館

The Asia Museum of Modern Art 亞洲現代美術館 (official site in Chinese) is a strange thing to find amid the rural-industrial sprawl of southern Taichung 台中. Located on the outskirts of historic Wufeng 霧峰, it is part of the much larger Asia University 亞洲大學 campus, itself riddled with European-inspired architectural curiosities like a gymnasium designed to look like the Colosseum of Rome. The art gallery, straying from the kitsch theme of the rest of the university, is an original design by renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando. It took nearly seven years to build and opened in 2013.