This Taiwanese City Is Replacing an Old Mall With a Lagoon


The seaside city of Tainan, Taiwan has long been separated from its waterfront by an ugly 1980s shopping mall, but in the next few years, it’s scheduled to get a new lagoon and artificial beach, returning the waterfront to the people.

The Netherlands-based architecture firm MVRDV, working with the Taipai-based planners The Urbanist Collaborative and LLJ Architects, recently won a design competition to transform the urban fabric of Tainan’s waterfront area called the T-axis. The old China-Town Mall, built in 1983 next to the New Tainan Canal, a bland building that cut off access to the waterfront, will be dismantled to make room for a public square surrounding a lagoon.

“This flooded old mall is going to be a poetic lagoon and an hip urban pool,” one of MVRDV’s founders, Winy Maas, explains in a press release. The area will be redeveloped with pedestrians, both locals and tourists, in mind. Local plants and dunes will line the new lagoon, and an artificial beach will connect people to the canal. The new development will include playgrounds, souvenir kiosks, a teahouse, and an art gallery. 

The plans for the former mall show a tree-shaded waterpark flowing from the canal, where people can stroll down to the water and splash around. Considering how bleak most abandoned shopping malls are, we can only hope more get transformed into awesome beach landscapes. 

All images ©APLUS CG via MVRDV