Taiwan Revealed Architecture 2010.07 A shot on Artech Architects' website features a Gursky-like image of 160-odd employees, hands in the air and smiling, at the R&D centre of Quanta, a leading hi-tech company in Taiwan. It suggests a practice that is a master of the Asian megaproject, yet retains a sense of humour and creativity.
Artech Architects' founder Kris Yao who set up the firm in Taipei in 1985, is ahead of the construction curve that is sweeping Taiwan. He has built all over the globe, represented his country at countless biennales and won an equal number of awards. When he reveals what he is currently working on ('four performing arts centres, one museum, three hotels, several modern Buddhist temples, including one in Paris and one in Vienna, some universities and many commercial projects'), you understand that he's a busy man. And that's not to mention his already sold, but not yet built, Cocoon house, a crazy curvy villa with pools that forms part of the Next-Gene 20 project. Yao cites Buddha, Lao Tzu and his Buddhist master Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche as his greatest influences, and this might explain his philosophical approach. 'I don't have plans for the future, since nothing significant in my life has ever been planned. But opening another office [in addition to one in Taipei and one in Shanghai] is definitely not one of them. Favourite building: The new Lanyang Museum in Yilan Harbour, north-east Taiwan. 'It's my first major museum and probably my last intense geometric composition,' says Yao. The tilted three-tiered cube built on marshland was inspired by the rock formations along the surrounding coast. 'The design encompasses many qualities that I like - mysteriousness, purity of form, and clarity of structure and space.